1 dead, 10 hurt in attack outside London mosque
The rise of Islamophobia in the UK in the recent past took a new turn after a man drove a van into Ramzan worshippers leaving a mosque in London early on Monday, leaving one dead and 10 others injured.
The incident soon after midnight near Finsbury Park is being treated as a terrorist incident, and follows a similar attack on London Bridge earlier this month, when a van mowed down pedestrians and its three occupants went on a stabbing spree before being shot dead by police.
Witnesses said the van driver was a “large white man”, who was apprehended by members of the public before police arrived to arrest him. He was quoted as shouting: “I want to kill all Muslims.”
A man, who was already being given first aid at the scene before the van rammed the pedestrians, has died but police said it was unclear whether his death was directly linked. At least two of the injured are in conditions.
“No matter what the motivation proves to be, and we are keeping an open mind, this is being treated as a terrorist attack and the Counter Terrorism Command is investigating,” Neil Basu, Scotland Yard’s senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism policing, said.
Basu added: “The attack unfolded whilst a man was receiving first aid from the public at the scene, sadly, he has died. Any causative link between his death and the attack will form part of our investigation. It is too early to state if his death was as a result of the attack.”
“All the victims were from the Muslim community,” he said.
Security was stepped up outside mosques in London and elsewhere. Local MP Jeremy Corbyn expressed “total shock” at the incident.
Sky News reported that the mosque’s imam, Mohammed Mahmoud, prevented the crowd from beating the attacker, aged 48, until police arrived and arrested him on suspicion of attempted murder.
The Finsbury Park mosque, one of the largest in the UK, was in the headlines in the 1990s because of its links to radical cleric Abu Hamza. It was shut down and reorganized, and has not been associated with radical views for more than a decade.
The area has a large immigrant community and is also home to Arsenal football club.
People offer prayers at Finsbury Park where a vehicle drove into pedestrians in London on Monday.