Vehicle rams worshippers near London mosque: Muslim leaders




  • In World
  • 2017-06-19 03:04:52Z
  • By Rosie SCAMMELL

London (AFP) - One person has been arrested after a vehicle hit pedestrians in north London, injuring several people, police said Monday, as Muslim leaders said worshippers were mown down after leaving a mosque.

Police said in a statement there were "a number of casualties", adding that they were called to reports of "a vehicle in collision with pedestrians" at 00:20 am (2320 GMT).

"We have been informed that a van has run over worshippers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque. Our prayers are with the victims," the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body, said on Twitter.

Harun Khan, the head of the MCB, said the van had "intentionally" run over people leaving night prayers for the holy month of Ramadan.

An AFP reporter could see a helicopter overhead and several emergency vehicles at the scene on Seven Sisters Road, a busy thoroughfare.

Police, including armed officers, could be seen manning a wide cordon around the area. Others searched the area with sniffer dogs.

A group of Muslim men could be seen praying on the pavement nearby. Traffic was shut down along a one-kilometre section of Seven Sisters Road.

"We saw lots of people shouting and lots of people injured," David Robinson, 41, who arrived just after the accident, told AFP.

Cynthia Vanzella, who lives near the scene, said on Twitter: "Horrible to watch police officers doing cardiac massage at people on the floor, desperately trying to save them. I just hope they did."

MCB deputy head Miqdaad Versi said the incident happened "outside the Muslim Welfare House", which is on Seven Sisters Road near the mosque.

The London Ambulance Service said: "We have sent a number of ambulance crews, advance paramedics and specialist responses teams to the scene.

"Our priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries and ensure that those most in need are treated first and taken to hospital."

Police described it as a "major incident".

- 'Evil violence' -

Finsbury Park mosque was once a notorious hub for radical Islamists but has entirely changed in recent years under new management.

Its former imam Abu Hamza was jailed for life in New York on terrorism charges in 2015.

He preached there from 1997 to 2003 before being jailed for inciting violence. He was later extradited to the United States.

In 2015, the mosque was one of around 20 that took part in an open day organised by the MCB to promote better understanding of Islam following Islamist-inspired terrorist attacks in Paris.

Despite the change in leadership and new focus on community relations, the mosque reported it had received a string of threatening emails and letters in the wake of the Paris attacks.

"If this attack is confirmed as a deliberate terrorist attack then this should be classed as an act of terrorism," said Mohammed Shafiq, head of the Ramadhan Foundation community group.

"The British Muslim community requires all decent people to stand with us against this evil violence," he said, adding that "rampant Islamophobia has been on the rise for a number of years".

Cage, a Muslim human rights group, said there had been "an epidemic rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes".

"We urge all to remain calm and do their utmost not to inflame an already volatile and distressing situation," it said in a statement.

- Spike in anti-Muslim crime -

Monday's incident in London follows an Islamist-inspired attack on June 3 in which three militants wearing fake suicide vests ran over pedestrians and went on a stabbing spree in bars in the London Bridge area.

They killed eight people before being shot dead by police.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said following that attack that there had been a 40-percent increase in racist incidents in the city and a fivefold increase in the number of anti-Muslim incidents.

On his Facebook page, Khan at the time called on Londoners "to pull together, and send a clear message around the world that our city will never be divided by these hideous individuals who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life".

Britain has seen two other attacks this year.

On March 22, a man drove a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a police officer guarding the British parliament to death before being shot dead.

Five people were killed in the attack.

On May 22, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a pop concert in Manchester, killing 22 people.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Global stocks recover their poise as Jackson Hole looms
Global stocks recover their poise as Jackson Hole looms

LONDON (AP) - Global stock markets pushed ahead Tuesday as investors' appetite for riskier assets perked up ahead of this week's big event - the annual gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

How high is air pollution in your city and how does it compare to the most polluted cities in the world?
How high is air pollution in your city and how does it compare to the most polluted cities in the world?

Pollution is a greater global threat than Ebola and HIV, according to warnings by the World Health Organisation.  According to its recent report, one in four deaths among children aged under five are now due to environmental hazards such as air pollution and contaminated water. Previously this year, air pollution levels in London were worse than those in Beijing for a brief period - with the UK capital's pollutants frequently breaking UK limits.  Now, the UK Government plans to tackle such dangers by banning diesel and petrol cars by 2040. But how bad is air pollution in other areas of the UK? Search for your postcode to see how bad air pollution is in your area How high is air...

Nigeria
Nigeria's president slams divisions after absence

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari took to state TV on Monday in his first speech since returning from a long medical absence in Britain, in a bid to dampen mounting separatist tensions in the country. The 74-year-old, who received treatment for an undisclosed condition in London, appeared thinner than usual as he read slowly from a prepared statement in which he also vowed to redouble the fight against Boko Haram jihadists. "I was distressed to notice that some of the comments (in my absence), especially in the social media, have crossed national red lines by daring to question our collective existence as a nation.

For the Love of Spock! Star Trek
For the Love of Spock! Star Trek's Terry Farrell Engaged to Leonard Nimoy's Son Adam

Star Trek's Terry Farrell Engaged to Leonard Nimoy's Son Adam Nimoy

Nigeria
Nigeria's ailing president returns after 3 months away

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) - Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country Saturday after more than three months in London for medical treatment but the government gave no details on what has been ailing him.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.