Attack at London Mosque Comes as UK Muslims See Surge of Hatred
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 20, 2017,
Jun 20, 2017, 18:09
Several people were injured in north London early on Monday after a van rammed into worshippers leaving a mosque, witnesses said, in what British police described as a "major incident".
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was "every bit as sickening" as the previous assaults that have hit Britain in recent months, including the massacre in the LondonBridge area and the May 22 suicide bombing that hit an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
"London police are already stretched by a series of tragedies including a June 14 high-rise apartment fire in which 79 people are presumed dead and a June 3 terror attack near London Bridge that killed seven people â€" said they are putting more officers on the street to reassure the public.
"We have been informed that a van has run over worshipers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque", the Muslim Council of Britain said on Twitter.
There were angrier scenes as police arrived and protected the accused man as he was put into a police vehicle.
When the suspect was being led away into the police van, he seemed dazed and bewildered.
"He did what he did deliberately to hit and kill as many Muslims as possible".
"Today we come together, as we have done before, to condemn this act and to state once again that hatred and evil of this kind will never succeed".
A suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester, northern England, in May also killed 22 people, while in March, a man drove a rented auto into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death before being shot dead.
A van was driven into a crowd of people coming out of a mosque in an area called Finsbury Park in North London.
"One eyewitness to the attack told the BBC that the driver of the van reportedly said "'I want to kill Muslims, I want to kill Muslims, '" as he exited the vehicle. "The relationships between the police and community here are very important to us, and are mostly very good indeed".
Trump's daughter and adviser Ivanka also reacted to the attack.
Finsbury Park Mosque Chairman Mohammed Kozbar tweeted his condolences for the "cowardly attack".
But others say they would welcome a more visible presence by authorities in the wake of the attack.
Ten people were hurt, all Muslims, with eight requiring hospital treatment.
May chaired an emergency response meeting Monday morning.
The Finsbury Park Mosque gained notoriety more than a decade ago for sermons by radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was sentenced to life in a USA prison in January 2015 for his conviction on terrorism-related charges.
"There has been far too much tolerance of extremism... including Islamophobia", she said.
Similar language was used by the police and other leading politicians, including Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, and the city's mayor, Sadiq Khan.
He told Sky News: "Last night as many of you know we arrived on the scene within minutes after the accident and we found the assailant on the floor, he'd been restrained by around three people, and the injured and deceased brother, they were being attended to and CPR was being administered on them".