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British PM May Condemns ‘Sickening’ Attack on Muslims

  • VOA News

A forensic tent and police are seen on Seven Sisters Road looking to Finsbury Park Mosque after a vehicle struck pedestrians in north London, June 19, 2017.

A van rammed into a group of pedestrians outside a London mosque early Monday, injuring 10 people in what British Prime Minister Theresa May called a "sickening" terrorist attack on Muslims.

The vehicle swerved into a group of people shortly after midnight as they left prayers at the Muslim Welfare House and the nearby Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, one of the biggest in Britain.

One person died at the scene, but it was not clear if he died as a result of the attack or from something else.

Police will assess the security of mosques and provide any additional resources needed ahead of celebrations marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, May announced.

"This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship," she said in a televised address." And like all terrorism, in whatever form, it shares the same fundamental goal. It seeks to drive us apart, and to break the precious bonds of solidarity and citizenship that we share in this country. We will not let this happen."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the incident "a truly horrific terrorist attack on our city" and Prime Minister Theresa May said it was "an attack on Muslims near their place of worship."

Finsbury Park Mosque, London
Finsbury Park Mosque, London

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the senior national coordinator for counter terrorism, clarified to reporters Monday that a man pronounced dead at the scene in northern London had already been receiving medical aid as the attack happened and that it was too early to tell if his death was related.

Authorities said officers arrested the 48-year-old driver of the van, who had been detained by members of the public at the scene.

Basu said it appeared the man was the sole attacker. He praised those who detained him, calling their restraint "commendable."

"What it proves to me is that Londoners will act together to protect themselves, but they will do so in a way that doesn't feed into terrorists' and extremists' hands," Basu said.

He added that the 10 people injured were from the Muslim community, and that investigators are "keeping an open mind" about the motive for the attack.

Harun Khan, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that based on accounts from witnesses the driver was "motivated by Islamophobia."

Police officers man on Fonthill road near Finsbury Park station after a vehicle struck pedestrians in north London, June 19, 2017.
Police officers man on Fonthill road near Finsbury Park station after a vehicle struck pedestrians in north London, June 19, 2017.

"Given we are approaching the end of the month of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid with many Muslims going to local mosques, we expect the authorities to increase security outside mosques as a matter of urgency," Khan said in a statement.

A Metropolitan Police statement said that due to the nature of the attack, "extra policing resources have been deployed in order to reassure communities, especially those observing Ramadan."

Britain, especially London, has been on edge over several recent incidents, including last month's terror bombing in Manchester and the recent vehicle attack and stabbings near London Bridge.

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