An imam has been praised for urging calm as witnesses waited for police to arrest the man suspected of intentionally driving a van into people outside a mosque at Finsbury Park, killing one man and injuring ten others.
A witness told the ‘Independent‘ that the imam – identified as Mohammed Mahmoud – prevented onlookers from attacking the driver, who is believed to have been deliberately targeting Muslims leaving a Ramadan prayer service:
“He waited until people had come out then drove at the people on the right then swerved to hit people on the left. Someone was lying under his van shouting ‘Help me‘.“He tried to run away but we brought him down. He would’ve died because so many people were punching him but the imam came out and said ‘No more punching, let’s keep him down until the police come‘.“As he was being arrested he was laughing and smiling and shouting things about Muslims. I don’t want to say what but it was but it was the sort of thing that made people want to punch him.”
A statement from Toufik Kacimi, chief executive of the nearby Muslim Welfare House, thanked him for his actions:
“I would like to particularly thank our Imam Mohammed Mahmoud, whose bravery and courage helped calm the immediate situation after the incident and prevented further injuries and potential loss of life.“The Police should be given time to do their job. We will issue another statement later when more information has emerged.”
Prime minister Theresa May said that her “thoughts are with those who have been injured, their loved ones and the emergency services on the scene” and that she will be chairing an emergency meeting today in response to the tragedy.
Photo: Getty Images / Barcroft Media.