Breaking News: Finsbury Park Terrorist Attack
A man was killed and 10 other people were injured after a white van was driven into a crowd of worshippers near Finsbury Park Mosque in North London. The incident happened at 12.20am on Monday night outside the Muslim Welfare House on Seven Sisters Road.
The 48-year-old driver of the van was detained by worshippers and arrested by police. When he was asked why he did it, he replied that he wanted to kill innocent people and requested that they kill him.
According to witnesses’ accounts the van ran over pedestrians who were trying to help a man who had fainted. Most of them were worshippers leaving Ramadan prayers.
There are two mosques in the area. One of them, the Finsbury Park Mosque, used to be associated with the radical Egyptian cleric Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri or the Hook Hand, who preached Islamic fundamentalism and militant Islamism. In 2003, the Mosque was shut down by the Met police and reopened in 2005 with a new board of trustees and supported by the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB).
Finsbury Park is a diverse area with a large Muslim population. The Muslim Welfare House, a mosque and Islamic centre has released a statement expressing their horror and concern about the incident: “We have worked very hard over decades to build a peaceful and tolerant community here in Finsbury Park and we totally condemn any act of hate that tries to drive our wonderful community apart.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was being treated as a "potential terrorist attack" and sent her support to the victims: "I will chair an emergency meeting later this morning ... All my thoughts are with the victims, their families and the emergency services on the scene.”
Finsbury Park is part of Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency. Corbyn said he was "totally shocked at the incident".
In a statement, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the incident was “an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect.”
Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said that he was "shocked and outraged to hear" that a van had "intentionally run over worshippers." In a statement, he condemned the attack and urged calm as the investigation progresses and establishes the facts: “Muslim communities have been calling for increased action to tackle the growth in hate crime for many years and transformative action must now be taken to tackle not only this incident but the hugely worrying growth in Islamophobia.
Many will feel terrorised, no doubt be angry and saddened by what has taken place tonight. We urge calm as the investigation establishes the full facts, and in these last days of Ramadan, pray for those affected and for justice.”