Thursday, 22 June, 2017

Man arrested over Finsbury Park mosque attack named as father-of-four

Melinda Barton | 20 June, 2017, 02:42

LONDON (AP) - In an attack that British Muslims say was aimed directly at them, a man plowed a van into a crowd of Muslim worshippers outside a north London mosque early Monday, injuring 10 people.

One elderly man, who had collapsed moments before the van appeared, was pronounced dead at the scene, although police have not yet confirmed whether he died as a result of the attack.

She hailed the "bravery" of locals for detaining the driver at the scene in the north London district of Finsbury Park.

A statement released by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) condemned what it described as a "terror attack".

According to a witness, the driver of the van, a 48-year-old white male, said, "I want to kill all Muslims".

"He wanted to run away and was saying, "I want to kill Muslims". Three men who restrained him later praised the efforts of Mohammed Mahmoud, imam of the mosque, who arrived at the scene and urged the crowd to remain calm and await police, the BBC reported Monday. Witnesses told Buzzfeed News the mosque's Imam helped in coordinating the protection of the attacker.

"When he went into the [police] van he made gestures, he was laughing".

Two months later, a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a pop concert in Manchester, northwest England.

On March 22, a man drove a rented auto into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death before being shot dead.

Images from the scene show a white van wedged against a traffic barrier at the dead end of a street.

People could be heard shouting and screaming amid the chaos and bloodstains were visible on the pavement.

Bystanders rushed to pin down the driver of the rented van and held him until the police arrived. Eight injured people were taken to hospitals, and a suspect was arrested. A relatively deprived immigrant neighborhood in North London, it was the home of the Finsbury Park Mosque - infamous for housing the radical Egyptian cleric Abu Hamza Masri, later extradited to the United States and found guilty of terrorism charges. "Al-Azhar affirms its total rejection of this terrorist, racist, sinful act, calling on Western countries to take all precautionary measures to limit the phenomenon of Islamophobia", it said in a statement.

"He will also be subject of a mental health assessment in due course". "There were at least two others who looked to be in a very bad way", he added.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said extra police had been deployed to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan, and said the attack was "an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect".

"During the night, ordinary British citizens were set upon while they were going about their lives, completing their night worship".

"Sending love and prayers to the victims in #FinsburyPark London". Tragically, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar has this year been shattered by a series of devastating incidents.

People had been attending mosques in the area as part of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Where did it take place? "We will stay a strong city", the mayor said. The attack Monday hits a community already feeling targeted in the fallout from the London Bridge killings and other attacks blamed on Islamic extremists.