Staff at a fried chicken shop received threats and abuse after an employee was arrested and then released without further action during the Parsons Green attack investigation.
A Facebook post from Aladdins Fried Chicken in Hounslow, west London, said staff faced abuse and threats on social media, over the telephone, and in person, following the arrest of Yahyah Farroukh, 21, on September 16.
The post added: “The investigation brought Yahyah, his friends, family, place of employment and the wider Muslim community under scrutiny and indignity.”
Mr Farroukh, and a 48-year-old man from Newport were both released without charge on September 21.
Police never formally identified Mr Farroukh as a suspect by name, but it emerged in the media.
During the short-lived investigation against him, Mr Farroukh’s Facebook profile remained accessible, and, in the absence of information, came speculation, and a natural curiosity to make sense of the unthinkable, to understand the motives behind this recent terrorist attack, which injured thirty passengers.
Within days, we learned of Yahyah Farroukh’s ‘party lifestyle,’ his place of employment, how he arrived in the UK as a refugee from Syria, and family visits to London and Scotland.
By September 22, however, an 18-year-old man named Ahmed Hassan, was charged in connection with the terror attack. His charges include attempted murder and maliciously causing an explosion.
During an interview on LBC, the Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, spoke of how deadly the bomb was, as it contained triacetone triperoxide (TATP), an explosive used in the Manchester, Paris, and Brussels terror attacks.
After the release of Yahyah Farroukh, it has now emerged that his mother suffered a heart attack after learning of her son’s arrest, hospitalising her in Egypt, as doctors are, however, confident that she will recover.
In the days before his release, the public Facebook page of Mr Farroukh became a temporary magnet for abusive posts from users within the UK and Europe. Disturbing comments accused him of being a terrorist, some wished death upon him, as others hoped he would face rape and sexual violence in prison.
Others spammed his wall post with broader anti-Muslim invective. In one such example, an account with a notable interest in ‘white power’ had posted several comments with pig emojis. Several posts made explicit reference to Islam and pigs, including a desire to rub pork in Mr Farroukh’s face. Days later, a user posted a grotesque meme linking Muslims to bestiality, adding the racial slur ‘black b*stard’ hours later.
Facebook did remove a violent comment from a man in the Czech Republic who wrote ‘F*ck you Muslims’ in a broader rant that referred to Muslims as both ‘parasites’ and ‘pigs’ on September 19. Before its deletion from the Mr Farroukh’s profile late light night or today, the Facebook thread had generated almost 200 comments since September 16.
But questions remain as to why his Facebook account was not disabled during the investigation.
Prominent anti-Muslim hate sites in the United States, jumped on the news of Mr Farroukh’s initial arrest, hoping to further their anti-refugee narratives, but have, unsurprisingly, failed to update their coverage to reflect his release.
A 17-year-old male has today been released without further charge, as two men, aged 25 and 30, remain in custody under section 41 of the Terrorism Act.