Salman Abedi gave taxi driver a Koran before the attack
14th December 2020

Manchester bomber Salman Abedi gave taxi driver a Koran saying ‘Please pray for me brother’ before he killed 22 in suicide attack, inquiry hears

  • Abedi, 22, handed  handed the gift to taxi driver Tariq Nadeem on May 22, 2017
  • Later that evening, he triggered the blast at the end of Ariana Grande concert
  • During the journey, Abedi collected a large rucksack containing the device
  • He also visited a cash machine before being dropped off at a bus station

Manchester bomber Salman Abedi gave a pocket-size Koran to a taxi driver and said ‘please pray for me, brother’ before he killed 22 people in a suicide attack, an inquiry has heard.

Abedi, 22, handed the gift to driver Tariq Nadeem who picked him up from Piccadilly rail station on May 22, 2017.

Later that same evening, he triggered the blast that killed 22 people and injured hundreds at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

During the journey, Abedi collected a large rucksack containing the shrapnel-laden device from his city centre flat and also visited a cash machine before being dropped off at Manchester’s Shudehill bus station. 

Abedi then took a tram to nearby Victoria rail station. Later that evening, he triggered the blast that killed 22 people and injured hundreds at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

Manchester bomber Salman Abedi gave a pocket-size Koran to taxi driver Tariq Nadeem (pictured) and said ‘please pray for me, brother’ before he killed 22 people in a suicide attack, an inquiry has heard

On Monday, taxi driver MR Nadeem told the inquiry into the attack he picked up Abedi on a fare from Piccadilly rail station at about 7.30pm.

He recalled Abedi asked him ‘are you a Muslim, brother’ as he drove to the first destination at Granby Row.

Mr Nadeem said: ‘The first thing that struck me was, he looked very weak. My first impression was that this was someone who might have some mental health issues or some other health issues.

Abedi then took a tram to nearby Victoria rail station (Abedi in the station). Later that evening, he triggered the blast that killed 22 people and injured hundreds at the end of an Ariana Grande concert

‘He spoke in a very low tone, though he had good English … the way he spoke was someone who was ill or, to be more precise, weak.’

Mr Nadeem said he noticed the rucksack Abedi brought into the taxi from Granby Row was ‘very heavy’ and it appeared he was ‘carrying it with a degree of difficulty’.

He said: ‘I said to him ‘it’s too heavy for you, isn’t it?’ to which he replied ‘I’m weak aren’t I, brother’.’

He said Abedi kept the rucksack strapped to his back throughout, including when he used an ATM en route to Shudehill.

Mr Nadeem went on: ‘As we were driving along High Street he said “can I give you a gift, brother?”.

‘He then handed me a copy of the pocket Koran. It was used, it didn’t look brand new.

‘I said thank you. Being Muslim, the Koran is very dear to us. I was very thankful to him and he said “please pray for me, brother”.’


Mr Nadeem recalled Abedi (pictured on the night of the attack) asked him ‘are you a Muslim, brother’ as he drove to the first destination at Granby Row 

Victims (top row left to right) Elaine McIver, 43, Saffie Roussos, 8, Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, Eilidh MacLeod, 14, Nell Jones, 14, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, 15, Megan Hurley, 15, Georgina Callander, 18, Chloe Rutherford,17, Liam Curry, 19, Courtney Boyle, 19, and Philip Tron, 32, John Atkinson, 26, Martyn Hett, 29, Kelly Brewster, 32, Angelika Klis, 39, Marcin Klis, 42, Michelle Kiss, 45, Alison Howe, 45, and Lisa Lees, 43, Wendy Fawell, 50 and Jane Tweddle, 51

Mr Nadeem said he had received gifts, including books, from customers, but never a Koran.

The men swapped names and Abedi said he was called Suleman, before the bomber told the taxi driver he was not travelling far but ‘only local’.

Earlier in the journey Abedi had given a £5 note to the driver, the inquiry sitting at Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard.

Mr Nadeem said: ‘The meter was showing £8 and something. He had already given me £5 and as a gesture of goodwill, because he had given me a gift, I said to him ‘I’m not taking any more money from you’.’ 

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