National / World

I’ll kill all Muslims: Witnesses recall London mosque assailant’s words


London, Jun 19 (Reuters): A van ploughed into worshippers leaving a London mosque on Monday, killing at least one person and injuring 10 others in what witnesses said was a deliberate attack on Muslims.

The hired vehicle swerved into a group of people leaving prayers shortly after midnight at the Finsbury Park Mosque, one of the biggest in the country, witnesses said. The attack comes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“This big van just came and went all over us,” witness Abdulrahman Saleh Alamoudi told BuzzFeed News. “He was screaming... ‘I’m going to kill all Muslims’.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May said police had confirmed it was being treated as a potential terrorist attack and said she would chair an emergency response meeting later on Monday.

“All my thoughts are with the victims, their families and the emergency services on the scene,” she said.

Police said one man was pronounced dead at the scene and that the van driver, aged 48, had been detained by members of the public before being arrested. The driver would undergo a mental health assessment in due course, police said.

Eight people were taken to hospital, while two were treated at the scene.

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

The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, in whose constituency the attack took place, said he was “totally shocked”.

The incident comes just over two weeks after three Islamist militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people at nearby restaurants and bars, killing eight. .

The Muslim Council of Britain said Monday’s attack was the most violent manifestation of Islamophobia in Britain in recent months and called for extra security at places of worship.

“It appears that a white man in a van intentionally ploughed into a group of worshippers who were already tending to someone who had been taken ill,” the council said in a statement.

Police said they were called just after 12:20 am (2320 GMT Sunday) to reports of a collision on Seven Sisters Road, which runs through the Finsbury Park area of north London.

“From the window, I started hearing a lot of yelling and screeching, a lot of chaos outside. … Everybody was shouting: ‘A van’s hit people, a van’s hit people’,” one woman who lives opposite the scene told the BBC.

“There was this white van stopped outside Finsbury Park mosque that seemed to have hit people who were coming out after prayers had finished.”

The attack comes at a time of political turmoil in Britain, as Prime Minister May plunges into divorce talks with the European Union weakened by the loss of her parliamentary majority in a June 8 election.

She has faced heavy criticism for her response to a fire in a London tower block on Wednesday which killed at least 58 people, and for her record on security after a series of attacks blamed on Islamist militants in recent months.

One witness told CNN it was clear that the attacker at Finsbury Park had deliberately targeted Muslims.

“He tried to kill a lot of people so obviously it’s a terrorist attack. He targeted Muslims this time,” the witness, identified only as Rayan, said.

Other witnesses told Sky television that the van had hit at least 10 people. The Evening Standard newspaper said the van appeared to have been rented in Wales, although there was no immediate confirmation of this from the authorities.

Miqdaad Versi, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the van had deliberately swerved into a group of people who were helping a man who was ill and had fallen to the ground.

“Basically, a van swerved into them deliberately,” Versi told Reuters, citing a witness.

He said the driver had run out of the van but a group of people caught him and held him until police arrived.

The incident followed a series of attacks in Britain.

Eight people were killed and 50 injured on June 3 when three Islamist militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people at nearby restaurants and bars.

On March 22, a man drove a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death before being shot dead. His attack killed five people.

On May 22, a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England.

The attacks were a factor in campaigning ahead of the June 8 election, with May criticised for overseeing a drop of 20,000 in the number of police officers in England and Wales as interior minister from 2010 to 2016.

She was also criticised for keeping her distance from angry residents during her visit to the charred remains of the 24-storey Grenfell Tower. She said on Saturday the response to the fire had been “not good enough”.

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 US prison in January 2015 for his conviction on terrorism-related charges.

A new board of trustees and management took over in February 2005, a year after Abu Hamza was arrested by British police, since when attendance has greatly increased among worshippers from various communities, according to the mosque’s website.

Comment on this article

  • Anand Kumar, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 20 2017

    What goes around comes around. Karma.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Leslie, udupi

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    All communities must whole heatedly condemn any religious violence...
    Never anyone must rejoice within heart for the death of innocents...
    It may be of his or her own religion by mere presence in the place of act....
    Life is already under tremendous pressure to sustain...
    Pollution, unemployment and dwindling resources are everybody's everyday problems...
    Why add another unnecessary issue for long???

    DisAgree Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Leslie, udupi

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    This will continue...
    This will get worse...
    Life has to live life within limits...
    When one lie goes beyond...
    Other can not stand playing poker games...
    Wake up guys...
    This is getting beyond governments...
    You do to me... I do to you...

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • C.T.Thomas, Nandalike

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    The frustration is understandable. The world is seeing it now . Europe is totally gone.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Chris, Tel Aviv

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    good to see the west is waking up.

    DisAgree [14] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • John Tauro, M'luru / Kwt

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    If this is the way West wakes up, then what’s the difference between east and west? Such type of tit for tat can lead to dangerous consequences all over the world. This should be considered a wake up call to the western political leadership and deal highhandedly with the situation.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shankar, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 20 2017

    John,
    What do you expect? Surrender to the terrorist from the peace loving religion?

    People sitting in top government posts like Theresa May, Angela Merkel or Siddaramayya will not know what is actually happening in the ground. Theresa cut down the police force by half. Angela let more than 200000 refugees inside Germany without any documents. Siddaramayya is giving bhagyas back to back.

    I UK, there is not enough policemen to police. Germany has become a mess with refugees creating havoc everywhere. In Karnataka as soon as one cow thief's death fetched lakhs of compensation, many more started stealing cows!

    Let us appreciate if some one is making an attempt to curb the growing terrorism all over the world.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • John Tauro, M'luru / Kwt

    Tue, Jun 20 2017

    @ Mr. Shankar,
    I mean to say that situation will get out of control if such type of retaliation is allowed to take place against each and every terrorist attack. It will not be surprising if the other side targets a church or a temple next time. But before it could happen I expect Theresa May, Angela Merkel and other European leaders to undertake concrete measures to wipe out both terrorism and terrorists out of their countries, including strict restrictions on immigration. Likewise I expect PM Modi also to do the same and I am sure only he can do it.

    DisAgree Agree [3] Report Abuse

  • MILAN, LUCERNE

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    NOW THEY REALISE ISIS IS ANTI MUSLIM.

    DisAgree [33] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Swamy, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    Don't make easy short cuts have guts to own responsibility.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rupesh, Mangalore

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    Hahaha... Good Joke man...

    DisAgree [10] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • MILAN, LUCERNE

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    U WISH ISIS TO BE A MUSLIM. ISLAM IS FAST GROWING RELIGION. ISIS WANTS TO STOP IT.

    ISIS WILL BE EXPOSED SOON....

    DisAgree [12] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ummar, Santhekatte

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    @ Rupesh,

    When truth can not digest you take it as a joke. Good for health.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • hans, Udupi

    Tue, Jun 20 2017

    If IS is anti-muslim then who are pro-muslim? Israel and the west?

    DisAgree [1] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kumari, Karkala

    Tue, Jun 20 2017

    Milan .... is a totally confused man

    DisAgree [2] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • HENRY MISQUITH, Bahrain

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    Sad. When is it gonna stop?

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • ca girishkk, m'ore/dxb

    Mon, Jun 19 2017

    Intolerance is now becoming global phenomena... may be this insane would have lost millions in cricket match betting...,

    just speculating .... lol

    DisAgree [14] Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse

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