Mosque chairman says crash was 'cowardly attack'

Lawrence Kim
June 19, 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May says she will chair an emergency meeting on Monday morning.

One witness described being surrounded by bodies in the wake of the attack outside the Muslim Welfare House, close to Finsbury Park mosque.

The Metropolitan Police said the investigation of the incident is being carried out by the Counter Terrorism Command.

A leader of the Muslim Council of Britain has called for extra security at mosques after a van struck worshippers leaving prayers at the Finsbury Park mosque.

Some witnesses at the scene said more than one attacker may have been involved. He complained that the "mainstream media" was unwilling to call the attack a terrorist incident for many hours.

"He was screaming "I'm gonna kill all Muslims, all Muslims".

The deadly collision bookends a tragic month in the United Kingdom, which has seen two separate terror attacks and a fatal fire in less than four weeks.

Witnesses saw the van swerved to hit pedestrians near a mosque. The statement from her office said her thoughts were with the injured, their loved ones and emergency services who responded to the scene.

An eyewitness told the BBC how he jumped out the way of the van as it struck.

The Finsbury Park mosque has been associated with radical Islamist ideology in the past, but its image changed after it was shut down and reopened under a new management.

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

"Whether he's a Christian or a Muslim, this is a terrorist attack", one young Muslim told Sky TV.

Ratib Al-Sulaman told CNN he was sitting with friends two minutes away, when an "incident in front of the mosque" occurred.

Resident Cynthia Vanzella said said she was in bed when she heard people shouting.

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

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: "My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected".

- One man was found dead at the scene, according to police, but it's not clear if he was killed during the attack.

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.

On May 22, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a pop concert in Manchester, killing 22 people. Before that several pedestrians and a police officer were killed in a car-and-knife attack in London.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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