Van rams Muslim worshippers in London, PM May condemns ‘sickening’ attack

Police officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London
An armed police officer attends to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

June 19, 2017

By Alistair Smout and Costas Pitas

LONDON (Reuters) – A van plowed into worshippers near a London mosque in the early hours of Monday, injuring 11 people, two of them seriously, in what Prime Minister Theresa May said was a sickening, terrorist attack on Muslims.

The vehicle swerved into a group of mainly North and West African people shortly after midnight as they left prayers at the Muslim Welfare House and the nearby Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, one of the biggest in Britain.

The driver, a 47-year-old white man, was grabbed at the scene by locals and pinned down until police arrived.

The man was not named by police but local media reported he was a father of four who lived in Wales. He was held on suspicion of attempted murder which was later extended to preparing or instigating terrorism, including murder and attempted murder.

After being seized, he said he had wanted to kill “many Muslim people”, one witness told journalists.

A man, who had earlier suffered a heart attack, died at the scene but it was not clear if his death was connected to the van attack.

“This morning, our country woke to news of another terrorist attack on the streets of our capital city: the second this month and every bit as sickening as those which have come before,” May told reporters outside her Downing Street office.

“This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship,” said May who later visited the mosque.

The White House said U.S. President Donald Trump was receiving regular updates on the attack. “We’ve made it very clear to our British allies that we stand ready to provide any support and assistance that they may need,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters at a briefing.

The attack was the fourth since March in Britain and the third to involve a vehicle deliberately driven at pedestrians.

It came at a tumultuous time for the government with Britain starting complex divorce talks with the European Union and May negotiating with a small Northern Irish party to stay in power after losing her parliamentary majority in a snap election that backfired.

DRIVER DETAINED

The mosques’ worshippers had just left special prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Usain Ali, 28, said he heard a bang and ran for his life.

“When I looked back, I thought it was a car accident, but people were shouting, screaming and I realized this was a man choosing to terrorize people who are praying,” he told Reuters. “He chose exactly the time that people pray, and the mosque is too small and full, so some pray outside.”

Another witness Yann Bouhllissa, 38, said he had been tending an old man who had suffered a heart attack when the van was driven at them. The driver was then seized by locals.

“One guy caught the guy and brought him down,” Bouhllissa told Reuters. “When he was on the floor, the guy asked ‘why do you do that?’. He said ‘Because I want to kill many Muslim people’.”

Mohammed Mahmoud, the imam from the Muslim Welfare House, stepped in to ensure the van driver was not hurt until he was bundled into a police van.

“We found that a group of people quickly started to collect around him … and some tried to hit him either with kicks or punches. By God’s grace we managed to surround him and to protect him from any harm,” Mahmoud told reporters.

“We stopped all forms of attack and abuse towards him that were coming from every angle.”

Neil Basu, senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism policing, said restraint shown by locals was “commendable”.

In addition to the man who died, 11 people were injured, with nine taken to hospital, two in a very serious condition, police said.

Security Minister Ben Wallace said the man was “not known to the authorities in the space of extremism or far-right extremism”.

Police, who believe he was acting alone, were searching addresses in Cardiff, Wales, where the vehicle hire company that the van was rented from is based.

ATTACKS IN LONDON, MANCHESTER

The latest incident took place just over two weeks after three Islamist militants drove into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed people at nearby restaurants and bars, killing eight..

A suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester, northern England, in May also killed 22 people, while in March, a man drove a rented car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and stabbed a policeman to death before being shot dead. Five people were killed in that attack.

Five other terrorism plots have been foiled since March, police say.

May, weakened after losing her parliamentary majority in a June 8 election she had called to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks, has faced criticism for her record on security after the previous series of attacks blamed on Islamist militants.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called on her to reverse planned police spending cuts. She has also been criticized for her response to a fire in a London tower block last Wednesday which killed at least 79 people.

“Today’s attack falls at a difficult time in the life of this city, following on from the attack on London Bridge two weeks ago – and of course the unimaginable tragedy of Grenfell Tower last week,” May said.

She promised action to stamp out all forms of hatred, saying there had been far too much tolerance of extremism in Britain over many years.

Police have said hate crimes rose after the London Bridge attack and more officers would be deployed to provide reassurance to mosques.

The Muslim Council of Britain said Monday’s attack on mosque worshippers was the most violent manifestation of Islamophobia in Britain in recent months and called for extra security at places of worship.

Finsbury Park Mosque said it was a “callous terrorist attack” and noted it had occurred almost exactly a year after a man obsessed with Nazis and extreme right-wing ideology murdered lawmaker Jo Cox, a former humanitarian aid worker.

The mosque itself gained notoriety more than a decade ago for sermons by radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was sentenced to life in a U.S. prison in January 2015 after being convicted of terrorism-related charges.

However, a new board of trustees and management took over in February 2005, a year after Abu Hamza was arrested by British police. Attendance has greatly increased since then among worshippers from various communities, according to the mosque’s website.

(Additional reporting by Ritvik Carvalho, William James, Estelle, Shirbon, Kate Holton, Dylan Martinez and Elisabeth O’Leary; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge, Nick Tattersall and Michael Holden; Editing by Ralph Boulton and Toby Chopra)

  • sanman99

    You knew this was coming, I think the citizens do not feel like their government is looking out for them and after all these terrorist attacks justice seems to come in the form of revenge. And yet the government or fake news will not cover or discuss.

  • rteltru

    Don’t act all surprised… This was bound to happen and is completely understandable. – it’s human nature and this dude is a HERO to some. The Imam who was interviewed focussed on the “Muslim Mob” who was trying to attack the assailant. Interesting that he made it clear, in very humble terms, that his Muslim mosque goers were not going to stand down. He said a MOB formed and they were trying to hurt the man but he and a few ‘brothers’ got the mob off of him and ‘Protected him’ until the police arrived. Watch the video by SUN.

  • rteltru

    He sure didn’t look “White” to me. Look at the pictures of him…

  • Perro Viejo

    So….when Muslims attack non-Muslims we are told to be patient, we’re not sure it was religiously motivated and may not be an act of terror. When non-Muslims are fed up at their government doing NOTHING and take the law into their own hands we immediately decry it as an act of terror and say that Muslims were clearly targeted. UK elected her, they’re getting exactly what they chose. Good luck to ya!

  • RJenIL

    It’s not the Muslims who should be attacked here, folks. Your attack needs to be at the voting booth for the advocates of open borders.

  • Lauren

    Does anyone have any proof that this Mosque has been home to convicted terrorist. I see a lot of comments but no proof. I try really hard to get all the facts.

    • Ayna

      Tried to post you some decent links from mainstream British newspapers, but links are being blocked here.

      I’m deleting this media from my list.

  • Lauren

    No excuse for this guy, that would be hypocritical and we cannot sink to that level. It is however impossible to ignore that this has some relation to radical Islamic terrorism. There is only one direction that can be taken to eradicating radical Islamic terrorism. It is going to start occurring more often if Europe doesn’t start taking this more seriously #1: Prohibit populations from traveling to and from terrorist known regions, it isn’t a racial or religious thing here no one in no one out period regardless of race, religion or culture #2: A campaign against terrorist activity online #3: The Muslim community must wage their own war against radical Islamic terrorist themselves. They are given reprise and sanctuary and if they cared at all it seems like they would want to take an active role in eradicating what drove them from their homes? If they don’t they should be liable for abiding and aiding terrorist, in fact anyone who ignores terroristic behavior regardless of the organization should be liable. With that said, Muslims are often the target of radical Islamic terrorist themselves so yes it is premature to mark this as retaliation, this could have been a radical Islamic terrorist, or even a plot to pit Muslim immigrants against Brits, for all we know. Regardless, I will say that if you know your neighbor has potential terrorist ties you are directly responsible for the actions that occur as a result of ignoring the truth. This is becoming a problem because we are being told not to profile so we go against our natural instinct. Instead we should be honing in on profiling and knowing when we are profiling because of a desire for societal gain and when we are profiling as a result of potential and real threat.

    • MAGA woman

      Very accurate statements. Recently a poll done among Muslims in England showed that the overwhelming majority would NOT warn police if they knew an attack was being planned. PM May is very ineffective as a leader. She says a lot of “words” and is trendy and PC, but is doing nothing of essence to stop the slaughter.

  • 210’s

    Right. Inviting local people to run you over or slash you with knives has it’s risks.
    Why do you do it muslims?

  • 210’s

    Van rams Muslim worshippers in London, PM May condemns ‘sickening’ attack.

    But the last few islamic attacks were followed up with, here we go again.

  • timcat

    What do you expect to happen when you let people into your country who want to and do kill you ?? The white people will only take so much !!!

    • 210’s

      Any people!!

    • paqza

      lolwut

  • Jorge Sedais

    Although this act is as despicable as the radical Muslim attacks on innocent concert goers and tourists, it may serve as a message against any planned attacks. If young Muslim radicals are given to understand that any future attacks on innocent non-Muslims could be answered by retaliatory attacks on innocent Muslims, they may just think twice.

    • 210’s

      They should but they are happy to lose their lives for the cause.

    • Warmac9999

      You are applying a Western civilization logic not thenislamic ideology of martyrdom through any killing.

  • Localdude

    wow, that soldier sure has a nice gun… too bad they didn’t have him standing there BEFORE the attack. nice ‘regular capacity’ magazine as well. I wonder what type of ammo he has. problem is…he just cant be everywhere all at once now can he….try as he might…just cant be there until AFTER something happens.

  • Bill Jr

    PM May Said ‘This Is Sickening, So Much Useful Motivation and Energy Wasted. They Could Have Use TNT or C-4 and Done A Much More Effective Job. I Hope The Next Bloke’s Think About This!’

  • Jack Woodburn

    So it WAS done by a Caucasian Brit. Is this the first “return fire” skirmish of an impending civil war in Britain? I’m surprised something demonstrably retaliatory hasn’t happened before now…

  • covfefefay9169

    I don’t believe the driver was saying anything to them…nobody filmed it…the muslims don’t mind people being burned alive, or white vans with muslim drivers running down innocent people, then slitting others’throats…they didn’t have much o say about a bomber blowing up little girls at a concert….I don’t want to hear their lies now!

    • CCTexas

      Well put.

      • covfefefay9169

        Thank you…they don’t like it when the shoe is on the other foot, do they…?

        • paqza

          Huh? ISIS is an evil organization that doesn’t represent Muslims at all. It’s a bunch of social outcasts and sociopaths who got to live out a fantasy, and they are and will absolutely suffer the consequences. That has nothing to do with the hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world just trying to live their lives.

          • WAKE UP!

            Really? Watch this video, then say that.
            https://youtu.be/XYGMWbWXniA

          • paqza

            That’s about Muslim Brotherhood, not ISIS. They’re not the same thing.

        • Warmac9999

          That is the Western rational Muslim ndset. It t is not the mindset of a Muslim who thinks that the murdered Muslim is a martyr. As with the Japanese in WW2, the slaughter must be of the magnitude of Hiroshima to change a Muslim mind. The leaders of Western Europe know this and are frozen by the prospect.

          • Perro Viejo

            …maybe we should just throw him off the roof of a building hands and feet bound….oh wait…….that’s been done

    • rteltru

      Yeah… SUN has a video of the Imam acting all humble but he doesn’t hesitate to talk about the “Muslim Mob” that was forming attempting to hurt the assailant. Interesting how they must show their strength and power – even during an attack on them…

  • Texas Don

    Aw, they were at prayer and were attacked. What a shame. No, they were not at prayer, they were on the street, just like the NON MUSLIMS who have been mowed down in England recently by MUSLIMS. Yes, I said by MUSLIMS. It is not just the radicalized dogs, but it is the help they receive from NON RADICALIZED dogs that help them kill NON MUSLIMS. All are guilty. Aiding and Abetting makes one just as guilty as the individual who commits the crime.

    • j jones

      Innocent people run over by a moron

      • Jesus Saves

        You reap what you sow.

        • paqza

          Guess you don’t believe in Jesus’s message.

          • Jesus Saves

            Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

          • paqza

            Yes. A man. An evil man deserves what comes to him, not the random, unrelated, innocent person two blocks over.

          • rteltru

            Unfortunately, if you are Good Muslim and do nothing to try to stop the war of terror coming from your sect, you are aiding and abetting and will reap the consequences of being Silent.

          • paqza

            Utter nonsense. That’s like claiming all Christians should be held responsible for the KKK.

      • CCTexas

        Maybe not so inocent.

    • Localdude

      Yep. They were praying that God lets them over run the ‘western infidels’. Their Imam preaches as much. They believe that the morally weak west will not understand their dilemma until its to late. There are many ways to over run the ‘infidel’. It is written in their Koran and they preach this at their ‘prayer meetings’. All the while the ‘authorities’ ignore the obvious.

      • rteltru

        Yeah, you should watch the video clip of the Imam talking to Sun. He’s so focussed on the “Muslim Mob” that was forming to attack the assailant and how he and his ‘Brothers’ were there to protect him until the police came. They are a people of violence as the world has experienced. And, yep, they created their own label – not their victims…

        • Localdude

          Well put. They [Islamic Supremacists] have a bit of a 3 prong approach to their belief of eventual hegemony in Europe. Very sick indeed. I pray the naivety of the Brits is falling away and the events of the last few years have finally awakened them to what their situation truly is. They have been completely disarmed as well. Soon many ‘criminal acts’ will be deemed ‘terrorist’ in nature, ‘psychiatric’ related – as some common crimes are presently codified in UK law. The ‘PC speak’ that drives a totalitarian police state to ‘restore order’ – – when in fact – its only advancing itself and its agendas. They never bet on their ‘cheap labor’ too not submit and assimilate. Pure avarice has led ‘progressive politics’ and ‘progressive global business’ models to this point in history.

  • Basketcase

    Happy Ramadan!

    • rteltru

      Bout time… Reaping what they sowed…

  • Vikram

    Finally someone in London shows some guts.

    • timcat

      Exactly – at least the guy has a pair !!!

  • Max Kronader

    Interesting that there is no hesitation in stating that muslims were targeted, but when muslims are the attackers, we are told that we must not jump to conclusions and motivation is unclear.

    • Jack Woodburn

      Well, it occurred right in front of a mosque as people there were leaving. It’s not a stretch to conclude Muslims were the targets. Given the Shia/Sunni conflicts elsewhere, it wasnt immediately wise to assume it was done by a non-Muslim Brit…

      • Max Kronader

        You miss my point. Of course muslims were the targets. I was pointing out the strong reluctance by media and government to draw similarly obvious conclusions about the motivations of muslims who have pledged allegiance to ISIS and shout allahu akbar while murdering people.

        • S. Grubbs

          If you read the article you would know the man said he wanted to kill muslims — “One guy caught the guy and brought him down,” Bouhllissa told Reuters. “When he was on the floor, the guy asked ‘why do you do that?’. He said ‘Because I want to kill many Muslim people’.” There are no conclusions to draw. Most of the muslim terrorists are not captured alive and everyone has to wait until the police can confirm what everybody suspects. This guy confirmed it for the police half a minute after he was captured.

          • R.L.

            And terrorists yelling “allah akbar”, are never accused of being terrorists until about five days later. That was the OP’s original point.

          • paqza

            And that’s nonsense. Terrorism is assumed almost immediately, not “five days later”.

          • Perro Viejo

            you must read different papers than the rest of the world

          • paqza

            Everything’s terrorism until it isn’t in the mainstream media.

          • Heremeroor

            That is nonsense. Sometimes is longer. It only took almost a month for Obummer, Killary and the Klan to admit Benghazi attack was not result of a video protest….

          • rteltru

            Yeah, and first people she texts is her daughter and president of Egypt. Ask Trey Gowdy about that one. It’s on camera. In essence, Trey asked her why she lied.

          • R.L.

            Oh sure the leftist media are always apologists for about five days. They claim it was a “lone wolf” or it had nothing to do with Islam. All of it a crock of leftist crap by the way.

          • paqza

            There’s a great piece on this by Dr. Shankar Vedantam (Hindu Stanford professor): Most of the terrorist attacks in the US are committed by the alt-right and only a fraction are committed by Muslims, but the ones committed by Muslims are the only ones that get much airtime or press coverage. In general, if a white guy flies a plane into the building (Austin IRS), shoots up a Sikh temple (Wisconsin), or tries to kill politicians (Alexandria a couple of days ago), it’s not called terrorism, but if a “lone wolf” is ostensibly Muslim (Orlando nightclub), it’s “terrorism”, even though it was obviously a deranged lone wolf pissed off about possibly getting AIDS from one of his gay lovers, not anything to do with religion.

          • R.L.

            I am to believe a liberal professor. Ok time for you to give me a break. The only thing liberals are good for is to cover up the cesspool.

          • paqza

            Look it up yourself, then. At least half of all US terrorist attacks are politically motivated by right-wing extremists or left-wing nutjobs. Only about 1 in 10 is committed by Muslims, but that’s what gets all the press coverage due to the bias against whoever’s convenient. It was the Catholics and the Jews a hundred years ago, black people, Mexicans, whomever. We’ve got a history of picking a people to hate and sticking to it for a while.

      • Heremeroor

        It could have been a group of tourists as part of a tour…

        • Jack Woodburn

          At midnight?

          • Heremeroor

            Insomnia…lol

      • sanman99

        So is it ONLY muslims allowed in the mosque?

        • Jack Woodburn

          For evening prayers, yes. Do some research. And read what has been published.

        • paqza

          Anybody can go in. Just like a Jew can walk into Sunday Mass. They might not know what’s going on, but anyone can enter.

    • IceColdLogic

      Yes. And it’s international news. When another coptic christian church in Egypt is burned down by muslims (many on Christmas and Easter) it’s reported on only by a few conservative sources.

      • rteltru

        Discrimination! Favoring one group over the others, then using their leftist ‘guilt trip’ manipulations – that’s why in the U.S. the democratic / progressive party is crumbling. Hypocrites, Liars, Violent, Murderers and Fakes…That’s what they are…

        • paqza

          Yeah, the Democrats should absolutely disband. They haven’t represented the people in decades.

      • paqza

        Yeah, that’s extremely disturbing stuff. Egypt is a really scary example, where Christians have been targeted way more often under the most recent government than they even were under the previous Muslim Brotherhood government. It’s a really tough time to be Christian there now, even though those communities have been an integral part of society and culture for nearly 2,000 years. Literally – the Egyptian Christians established themselves in the year 42 by Mark. Yes, that Mark.

  • Realist

    The sun has finally set on the British Empire. They are through!

  • Tom Fewya

    It seems that the tone of the message has been clearly set. “If radical Islamic terrorist’s keep making attacks on the people of English decent the tables can and will be turned.” In short That mosque has reaped what it has sowed. ][][][%

    • paqza

      The vast majority of ISIS are individuals who were too disturbed to go to mosque, actually. They’re either too antisocial or they got kicked out for being too radical. The mosques are the organizations working with law enforcement to root out the dangerous, so your viewpoint is not only wrong, it’s disturbingly off base.

      • Warmac9999

        The mosque in question has a history of supporting violence against infidels. It was particularly bad a decade ago and had to,he purged.

        • paqza

          If people are threatening, round ’em up, arrest them, interrogate them, lock ’em up. That’s justice. Driving a van into random people is terrorism and doesn’t lead to safety for anyone. But duh, that’s obvious.

      • Tom Fewya

        Wrong. They get radicalized in these mosques.

        • paqza

          Completely untrue, but good effort!

    • rteltru

      Yep and it shouldn’t catch ANYONE by surprise. Humans WILL fight back and this dude is a hero to some, I’m certain of that…

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  • Another Terrorist Attack involving THIS Mosque!!! Why hasn’t it been torn down yet?!?!

    • j jones

      It is a place of worship, like tearing down the vatican

      • Max Kronader

        It is a place of breeding terrorist plots against the host nation. Islam, by its own scriptures, is aggressively incompatible with Western Civilization. It is time to stop pretending that this crackpot, violent, expansionist death cult is a religion in the civilized sense of the word. It is one with “religions” requiring such things as the sacrifice of babies into the fiery belly of the statue of Baal, and like that “religion” belongs on the ash heap of history.

        • paqza

          How so? You say that a lot but never actually back it up with any facts.

          • Max Kronader

            Facts? Review world history of rampant islamic terrorism over the past few decades, the year or so it will take you to read through the accounts of the literally thousands of muslim terrorist attacks in that time should acquaint you with plenty of facts.

          • paqza

            I studied it extensively, which is why it’s obvious to me that you’re making stuff up on the spot. Provide some evidence that anything you’ve written is remotely true, and you can start with your disjointed “Baal” references.

          • rteltru

            By the way, where’s your evidence and facts to counter-attack his statement? Not sure if they are still there but a few years ago you could watch Youtube Videos of Imams preaching to their congregations about how their ISIS arm is called by God to do Jihad on western civilization.

          • paqza

            I’ve studied plenty of religions and anyone claiming that Baal is worshipped in Islam really has no idea what they’re talking about. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, all with their own respective problems, are basically the same religion. It’s like Windows 3.1 (Judaism), Windows XP (Christianity), and Windows Vista (Islam). The prophets and stories are pretty much all the same. If you know Christianity, then you know 80+ percent of Islam, since Jesus is the most mentioned person in the Koran and is viewed by Muslims as the Messiah.

          • paqza

            Facts show that most terrorist attacks in America are conducted by the alt-right and anarchists. There’s 3 to 4 terrorist attacks committed by these political extremists compared to every “Islamic terrorist” attack. So what’s up with your confusion?

          • Max Kronader

            No sense continuing this thread with you if you choose to just blatantly lie.

          • paqza

            Google it yourself. I’m not asking you to take my word for it.

          • Max Kronader

            One can also Google literally hundreds of articles “proving” that spaceflight is a hoax and the world is flat; doesn’t make any of it true.

          • paqza

            Find yourself reputable sources. Don’t take my word for it.

          • paqza

            You’re the only blatant liar in this 2 individual conversation. Go look up what I’ve said yourself. Don’t take my word for it.

          • Max Kronader

            Interesting. Usually liars and trollbot types make their profiles completely private. You further this theory.

        • rteltru

          Well, you do back it up with facts. We see it every day in the news! Thanks – excellent points!

      • Lord Cornbread

        Tearing down a radical mosque is more akin to tearing down a sh*thouse.

        • paqza

          You got half that right for sure.

      • Jesus Saves

        There’s only ONE Vatican, mosques are a dime a dozen.

  • Jack Woodburn

    Hummm…Shia vs. Sunni OR Muslims vs Non-Islamic Brits???