British Prime Minister Theresa May has been heckled and booed as she visited a mosque in north London, where a terrorist attacked Muslim worshipers as they were leaving the place on Sunday night after offering prayers.
At least one person died and ten others were injured when the attacker with his van rammed into worshipers coming out from the Finsbury Park Mosque. Britain’s largest Muslim organization said it was a “violent manifestation of Islamophobia.”
As May was leaving after visiting the mosque on Monday, one man shouted “how come you were so quick today,” an apparent reference to her initial failure to visit victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in which dozens of people, mainly Muslims and other ethnic minorities lost their lives on Wednesday in west London.
The man said, “Mrs. May, have you had a faster taxi?”
A number of activists from Islington Stand Up To Racism also protested against May’s visit and shouted at her from over the road.
The Muslim Council of Britain in a statement condemned the Finsbury Park Mosque attack, and said that the perpetrator was “motivated by Islamophobia.”
Witnesses also said that the attacker was shouting, “I want to kill Muslims.”
Attack ‘was an evil borne out of hatred’
May met with Muslim community leaders at the mosque and slammed the attack.
She later emerged with the representatives of different religions at her side, and talked to reporters.
“The terrible terrorist attack which took place last night was an evil borne out of hatred and it has devastated a community,” she said.
“I am pleased to have been here today to see the strength of that community coming together, all faiths united in one desire to see extremism and hatred of all sorts driven out of our society,” she added.
“There is no place for this hatred in our country today and we need to work together as one society, one community, to drive it out, this evil which is affecting so many families.”
In a statement earlier, May said, “Today’s attack falls at a difficult time in the life of this city, following on from the attack on London Bridge 2 weeks ago – and of course the unimaginable tragedy of Grenfell Tower last week, on which I will chair another meeting of Ministers and officials later today.”
May lauded the people who apprehended the attacker and handed him over to the police.
Imam who ‘protected attacker from mob’ speaks
The angry mob was beating up the assailant but an imam at the Muslim Welfare Center and his friends moved forward to protect him.
Imam Mohammed Mahmoud told reporters how he protected the attacker from the crowd after he was pinned down at the scene.
“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,” he stated.
“A police van drove past so we flagged them down 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,” he added.
“We pushed the people back. He didn’t say a word. It wasn’t me alone. There was a group of brothers,” the imam said.
“He seemed calmed. I just heard he said ‘I did my bit,'” he added.
‘All Muslims love Corbyn’
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and London Mayor Sadiq Khan also visited the mosque and censured the deadly attack.
“I am shocked by this horrific and cruel attack in Finsbury Park,” Corbyn said in a statement.
When Corbyn entered the mosque, a man was heard shouting: “I love you!”
“All Muslims love you,” a second man shouted.
The mayor of London called the incident “a truly horrific terrorist attack on our city.”
“My thoughts and prayers, as I’m sure the thoughts and prayers of all of London and the country, are with all those affected by the attack last night, particularly the man who tragically died last night at the scene,” he said.