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The Manchester Attack Reminds us of the Importance of Family

As the identities of the victims of Monday night’s terror attack in Manchester become known, the human tragedy unfolds. Seeing the faces of those who have lost their lives makes this barbarous act heartbreakingly more real.

Mothers and daughters on a night out together. Young girls hoping to enjoy their first pop concert. Parents waiting to pick up their children after the show and finding themselves caught up in the carnage. Worried families taking to social media to desperately appeal for news of missing children.

Many in Manchester are coming to terms with what has happened in their city. Manchester is a city known for its firm sense of community, which it has demonstrated so strongly over the past few days, and many people will have known someone affected by this tragedy.

Families have been torn apart in the wake of this attack, in much the same way families across the world have been broken by senseless acts of terrorism.

As details have emerged over the past few days, we learn that the perpetrator was 22-year-old Salman Abedi, who was born in Manchester to Libyan refugees. He had a sister and two brothers. His parents had returned to Libya following the fall of Colonel Gaddafi and Salman Abedi had made frequent visits to them.

Reports, so far, suggest that signs of radicalisation were apparent in Salman’s behaviour to the people around him. FAST was set up to support people in this position, because we believe it is vital that families can find help and support if they are concerned about a loved one being radicalised. The responsibility of preventing radicalisation falls on all of our shoulders.

At FAST, we are here to listen, help, and advise if you have any concerns about your family members or people in your community. We offer one-to-one confidential advice and you can contact us by clicking here.

Families across the world are dealing with the emotional fallout from the Manchester attacks. Children will be asking questions about what happened, especially given that the attack was at a popular singer’s concert and many of the victims were young people. It is crucial that as parents we listen to our children’s concerns and try our best to answer them sensitively, while caring for them during this difficult time. Talking about incidents like this fosters a healthy, open dialogue in the home, the importance of which cannot be underestimated. The BBC has published a useful guide to how to open up communication with your children about the attack.

Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to all those affected by this atrocity.