One suspect has been arrested after a car ran into pedestrians on Seven Sisters Road in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of London early Monday morning, the BBC reports. The incident took place outside the Muslim Welfare House near the Finsbury Park Mosque. Eight people, all Muslim, have been hospitalized with two reportedly facing serious injuries. A man who was receiving first aid on the scene before the attack occurred has died.
“There was this white van stopped outside Finsbury Park Mosque that seems to have hit people who were coming out of the mosque after prayers finished,” one eyewitness told the BBC. Another tweeted that about 15 police cars were on the scene, and officers were attempting CPR:
Horrible to watch police officers doing cardiac massage at people on the floor, desperately trying to save them. I just hope they did.— Cynthia Vanzella (@cynthiavanzella) June 18, 2017
Witnesses said that the suspect, who waved to an angry crowd as he was put into a police van, said, “I want to kill Muslims,” before being apprehended. Police have said the man was not known to authorities as a member of far-right circles. Nevertheless, British security minister Ben Wallace has called the incident a terrorist attack.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose constituency includes Finsbury Park, have both visited the mosque. In a statement read at Downing Street, May said that the country's resolve to tackle extremism of all kinds must be strengthened. “As I said here two weeks ago, there has been far too much tolerance of extremism in our country over many years,” she said, “and that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia.”
At the scene, Corbyn told a reporter that Finsbury Park represented, “a microcosm of a community working together.” “An attack on a mosque, an attack on a synagogue, an attack on a church, is actually an attack on all of us," he said. “We have to protect each other’s faith each other’s way of life.”
A terrorist attack on any faith or community is an attack on all of us. We must and will stand united against those who seek to divide us. pic.twitter.com/llAds1nQHX— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 19, 2017
Finsbury Park Mosque, as the New York Times reports, was known in the late 1990s and early 2000s for its links to Islamist terror. Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, currently serving a life sentence for his involvement in a kidnapping plot that killed four people, was an imam there, and shoe bomber Richard Reid attended. But it was reorganized from the ground up more than a decade ago, and recently won a libel judgment against Thomson Reuters for suggesting it was still linked to terrorism. Most recently, the mosque has been raising money for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire and hosting Jeremy Corbyn at an Iftar dinner. The mosque’s chairman, Mohammed Kozbar, called the incident a “cowardly attack” and expressed his sympathies with the victims of the collision on Twitter:
Our thoughts and prayers with those who got injured and effected by this cowardly attack in Finsbury Park area, many casualties in the floor— Mohammed Kozbar (@KozbarM) June 19, 2017
This is a developing story that has been updated since original publication.