New London attack committed against Muslims

New London attack committed against Muslims

A van has driven into a crowd of worshippers after they left a mosque in north London, killing one man and injuring ten other people.

London ambulance service said the eight injured were taken to three hospitals, and an unknown number of others were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The van driver – a 48-year-old man – was arrested at the scene by the police after being detained by passersby. He has been taken to hospital as a precaution and will also undergo a mental health assessment.

Two witnesses reported seeing three people leave the van, however, police said no other suspects have been identified or reported to police.

A witness said the attack happened shortly after the prayer in the mosque had finished and that he was worried about the two men who had escaped.

"He [attacker] was not ill. And he wasn't drunk. They did it on purpose. They've done it exactly after the hour of prayer," ABC News cited him as saying.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said police were treating the incident in Finsbury Park “as a potential terrorist attack”. She said she would chair a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee the later on Monday morning.

The Muslim Council of Britain has called the incident in London where a vehicle hit pedestrians earlier on Monday the most violent manifestation of Islamophobia to date.

"Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia, and this is the most violent manifestation to date," the organization’s Secretary General Harun Khan said in a statement. He described it as a terrorist attack condemning the incident.

"It appears that a white man in a van intentionally ploughed into a group of worshippers," the council said in a statement.

Finsbury Park Mosque, an unassuming five-story redbrick building opposite the station, which opened in 1994, has been the area's most famous venue in recent years.

The mosque rose to international notoriety in the early 2000s, due to its links with Egyptian-born radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri.

Al-Masri, who was the mosque's imam from 1997 to 2003, was later extradited to the United States, where he was convicted of supporting al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, and sentenced to life in prison in 2015.

Among those known to have worshipped at the mosque during al-Masri's time at the mosque were alleged shoe-bomber Richard Reid, and Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called "20th hijacker" of September 11.

CNN national terror analyst Peter Bergen said the Finsbury Park neighborhood has a large Muslim population and the nearby mosque has a notorious reputation as a place where Islamist militants used to gather.

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