The imam praised as a hero in the wake of the horrific incident in Finsbury Park in London on Sunday has spoken out about his experience.

One person was killed and another 10 injured after a van plowed into people just after midnight, in an attack believed to be targeting Muslims leaving a mosque nearby.

The driver was reportedly yelling "I want to kill all Muslims", and the incident has since been declared a terror attack on Muslims.

Chaotic scenes followed, but the mosque's imam, Mohammed Mahmoud, had been praised as a hero for not only calming down the angry crowd but for preventing any harm come to the 47-year-old suspect. (The driver has since been taken into custody, and identified as Cardiff local Darren Osborne.)

Speaking to reporters outside the Muslim Welfare Centre in London, he explained what happened during those chaotic moment.

“It wasn’t me alone, there were a group of brothers," he said. "They were calm and collected and managed to calm people down and to extinguish any flames of anger or mob rule that would have taken charge had this group of mature brothers not stepped in.”

He said he had just finished leading prayers when “a brother came in, quite panicked, and said that somebody had run over a group of people and tried to kill them.

“We arrived at the scene within minutes and we found the assailant on the floor. He had been restrained by around three people.

“We found a group of people quickly started to collect around the assailant. And some tried to hit him, either kicks or punches. By God’s grace we manage to surround him and to protect him from any harm. We stopped all forms of attack and abuse towards him that were coming from every angle.

“A police van drove past so we flagged them down and we told them the situation. 'There’s a man, he’s restrained. He mowed down a group of people and there’s a mob attempting to hurt him. If you don’t take him, God forbid he might be seriously hurt.'

“There was a mob attempt to hurt him, so we pushed people away from him until he was safely taken by police.

“This community of ours is a calm community, not known for their violence. Our mosques are incredibly peaceful. I can assure you we will do our utmost to calm down ill intentions.”

One of the men who held the suspect to the ground said that Mahmoud was the "only reason" Osborne was alive today.

"The imam came out from the mosque and he said, 'Listen, we are fasting, this is Ramadan, we are not supposed to do these kinds of things, so please step back," said 29-year-old cafe owner Mohammed.

"For that reason this guy is still alive today. This is the only reason. If the imam was not there, he wouldn't be there today."

Osborne remains in custody.


Source: The Guardian.
Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty.