Armed pa­trols at Scot­tish mosques af­ter ter­ror at­tack

● Man ar­rested af­ter van driven into peo­ple leav­ing Fins­bury Park mosque

The Scotsman - - Front Page - By CHRIS MAR­SHALL Home Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent

Armed po­lice are be­ing de­ployed amid height­ened se­cu­rity at Scot­land’s mosques af­ter a ter­ror at­tack on wor­ship­pers in Lon­don.

Dar­ren Os­borne, 47, has been ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of mur­der and at­tempted mur­der af­ter a van was driven into pedes­tri­ans near Fins­bury Park Mosque in the early hours of Mon­day morn­ing.

Po­lice Scot­land said it would have an in­creased pres­ence at the coun­try’s 84 mosques to pro­vide re­as­sur­ance to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

One man died in Lon­don fol­low­ing the at­tack on those leav­ing evening prayers af­ter break­ing the Ra­madan fast. Wit­nesses de­scribed hear­ing the man, who was de­tained by mem­bers of the pub­lic at the scene, shout: “I’m go­ing to kill Mus­lims.”

Po­lice con­firmed searches were be­ing car­ried out at a res­i­den­tial ad­dress in Cardiff.

Deputy As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Neil Basu, of the Metropoli­tan Po­lice, said: “Our thoughts are with all those af­fected by the in­ci­dent at Seven Sis­ters Road and their fam­i­lies, friends and com­mu­ni­ties.

“This is be­ing treated as a ter­ror­ist in­ci­dent and is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated

by the counter ter­ror­ism com­mand.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing and we are work­ing fast to know the full de­tails of how and why this took place.

“All the vic­tims were from the Mus­lim com­mu­nity and we will be de­ploy­ing ex­tra po­lice pa­trols to re­as­sure the pub­lic, es­pe­cially those ob­serv­ing Ra­madan.”

Ear­lier in the day, se­cu­rity min­is­ter Ben Wal­lace con­firmed the at­tacker was not known to the in­tel­li­gence ser­vices.

He said: “What I can say is this in­di­vid­ual, so far as we know at the mo­ment, was not known to us, but we are aware of a rise in the far right.”

The at­tacker, who is be­lieved to have acted alone, struck as the area was busy with wor­ship­pers at­tend­ing Ra­madan night prayers at the mosque.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May con­demned the in­ci­dent as “ev­ery bit as sick­en­ing” as the re­cent atroc­i­ties in Lon­don and Manch­ester.

Af­ter meet­ing faith lead­ers at Fins­bury Park Mosque, she said: “The ter­ri­ble ter­ror­ist at­tack which took place last night was an evil borne out of ha­tred and it has dev­as­tated a com­mu­nity. I am pleased to have been here to­day to see the strength of that com­mu­nity com­ing to­gether, all faiths united in one de­sire to see ex­trem­ism and ha­tred of all sorts driven out of our so­ci­ety.

“There is no place for this ha­tred in our coun­try to­day and we need to work to­gether as one so­ci­ety, one com­mu­nity, to drive it out, this evil which is af­fect­ing so many fam­i­lies.”

Po­lice and com­mu­nity lead­ers have praised those who re­strained the van driver and stopped oth­ers from at­tack­ing him be­fore po­lice ar­rived. Imam Mo­hammed Mah­moud was hailed for his ef­forts to calm the chaotic sit­u­a­tion in the af­ter­math of the at­tack and was said to have used his body to shield the sus­pected ter­ror­ist from the fury of on­look­ers.

Wit­nesses said the sus­pect was smil­ing and wav­ing as he brought car­nage to Seven Sis­ters Road, with video posted on­line show­ing him give a non­cha­lant wave as po­lice put him in the back of a ve­hi­cle.

One wit­ness de­scribed be­ing sur­rounded by bod­ies in the wake of the in­ci­dent out­side the nearby Mus­lim Wel­fare House.

Another wit­ness, iden­ti­fied as Ab­dul­rah­man, which is not his real name, said: “I man­aged to get the driver of the van. He wanted to run away and was say­ing ‘I want to kill Mus­lims.’

“I man­aged to get him to the ground and me and some other guys man­aged to hold him un­til the po­lice ar­rived.”

Ab­dul­rah­man claimed the driver said “Kill me”, as he was be­ing held on the ground.

He is also al­leged to have told the in­jured: “You de­serve it.”

Of­fi­cers were in the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity as the at­tack un­folded and re­sponded within one minute.

Po­lice de­clared it a ter­ror­ist in­ci­dent within eight min­utes.

Af­ter chair­ing a meet­ing of the govern­ment’s Co­bra emer­gen­cies com­mit­tee ear­lier, Mrs May said the at­tack was “ev­ery bit as in­sid­i­ous and de­struc­tive to our val­ues and our way of life” as the re­cent string of ter­ror at­tacks ap­par­ently mo­ti­vated by Is­lamist ex­trem­ism.

“We will stop at noth­ing to de­feat it,” she added.

Eight peo­ple were taken to hospi­tal, with one since dis­charged, while two oth­ers were treated at the scene.

Po­lice said it was too early to say if the man who died did so di­rectly be­cause of the at­tack, as he was al­ready re­ceiv­ing first aid from the pub­lic at the scene when it hap­pened.

Images of the van used in the at­tack showed it was rented from Pon­ty­clun Van Hire in Pon­ty­clun, near Cardiff.

South Wales Po­lice are work­ing with of­fi­cers from Lon­don on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Govern­ment Sec­re­tary Sa­jid Javid also vis­ited the scene and said he will seek ad­vice from the lo­cal com­mu­nity as to what mea­sures the au­thor­i­ties can take to give Mus­lims “max­i­mum re­as­sur­ance” that they are be­ing pro­tected.

“The per­pe­tra­tor of this at­tack – and those ter­ri­ble at­tacks in Manch­ester and Lon­don – their in­ten­tion is to seek to di­vide so­ci­ety. My mes­sage to them is that they will al­ways, al­ways fail,” he said.

Flow­ers have been laid near the scene, with one card read­ing: “This is an at­tack on all Lon­don­ers – and on my com­mu­nity.”

In a state­ment, the Mus­lim Coun­cil of Scot­land con­demned the at­tack in the “strong­est pos­si­ble terms”.

It said: “This at­tack was aimed di­rectly at the vi­brant Mus­lim com­mu­nity dur­ing the month of Ra­madan at a time when many fam­i­lies would have been re­turn­ing home af­ter night time prayers.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the vic­tims. Our heart goes out to the peo­ple of Lon­don who have been through so much in the last few months and are still wait­ing for news on many friends and fam­ily in the Gren­fell Tower tragedy.

“This at­tack goes to show how hate and ter­ror­ism has no re­li­gion or face. The mo­tive of these peo­ple is to spread di­vi­sion. To­gether, as a united com­mu­nity, we can de­feat those who seek to di­vide us.”

As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Nel­son Telfer, of Po­lice Scot­land, said: “There is no spe­cific threat to Scot­land, how­ever, Po­lice Scot­land is in­creas­ing armed pa­trols in re­sponse to the at­tack in Lon­don.

“Com­mu­ni­ties ab­so­lutely do de­feat ter­ror­ism. If you see or hear some­thing that could be ter­ror­ist re­lated, act on your in­stincts and call the po­lice on 101 or, in emer­gency 999, or in con­fi­dence on 0800 789 321.”

0 Theresa May and Metropoli­tan Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick talk to faith lead­ers at Fins­bury Park Mosque af­ter the ter­ror­ist at­tack

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