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Police Scotland steps up security at mosques after terror attack

Armed police are being deployed amid heightened security at Scotland s mosques after a terror attack on worshippers in London. Darren Osborne, 47, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder1 after a van was driven into pedestrians near Finsbury Park Mosque in the early hours of Monday morning. Police Scotland said it would have an increased presence at the country s 84 mosques to provide reassurance to local communities. One man died in London following the attack on those leaving evening prayers after breaking the Ramadan fast. Witnesses described hearing the man, who was detained by members of the public at the scene, shout: I m going to kill Muslims. Police confirmed searches were being carried out at a residential address in the Welsh capital. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, of the Metropolitan Police, said: Our thoughts are with all those affected by the incident at Seven Sisters Road and their families, friends and communities.

This is being treated as a terrorist incident and is being investigated by the counter terrorism command. The investigation is ongoing and we are working fast to know the full details of how and why this took place. All the victims were from the Muslim community and we will be deploying extra police patrols to reassure the public, especially those observing Ramadan.

Earlier in the day, security minister Ben Wallace confirmed the attacker was not known to the intelligence services. He said: What I can say on this case is this individual, so far as we know at the moment, was not known to us, but we are aware of a rise in the far right. The attacker, who is believed to have acted alone, struck as the area was busy with worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers at the mosque. Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the incident as every bit as sickening as the recent atrocities in London and Manchester. After meeting faith leaders at Finsbury Park Mosque, she said: The terrible terrorist attack which took place last night was an evil borne out of hatred and it has devastated a community. 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.

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. Police and community leaders have praised those who restrained the van driver and stopped others from attacking him before police arrived. Imam Mohammed Mahmoud was hailed for his efforts to calm the chaotic situation in the aftermath of the attack and was said to have used his body to shield the suspected terrorist from the fury of onlookers. Witnesses said the suspect was smiling and waving as he brought carnage to Seven Sisters Road, with video posted online showing him give a nonchalant wave as police put him in the back of their vehicle. Other footage showed a scene of chaos as people could be heard shouting and screaming amid the chaos, with bloodstains visible on the pavement. One witness described being surrounded by bodies in the wake of the incident outside the nearby Muslim Welfare House.

Another witness, who wanted to be identified as Abdulrahman, which is not his real name, said: I managed to get the driver of the van. He wanted to run away and was saying I want to kill Muslims. So he came back to the main road and I managed to get him to the ground and me and some other guys managed to hold him until the police arrived. Abdulrahman claimed the driver said Kill me , as he was being held on the ground. He is also alleged to have told the injured: You deserve it. Officers were in the immediate vicinity as the attack unfolded and responded within one minute. Police declared it a terrorist incident within eight minutes. After chairing a meeting of the Government s Cobra emergencies committee earlier, Mrs May said the attack was every bit as insidious and destructive to our values and our way of life as the recent string of terror attacks apparently motivated by Islamist extremism. We will stop at nothing to defeat it, she added.

Eight people were taken to hospital, with one since discharged, while two others were treated at the scene. All of the casualties were Muslims. Police said it was too early to say if the man who died did so directly because of the attack, as he was already receiving first aid from the public at the scene when it happened. Images of the van used in the attack showed it was rented from Pontyclun Van Hire in Pontyclun, near Cardiff. South Wales Police are working with officers from London on the investigation. Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid also visited the scene and said he will seek advice from the local community as to what measures the authorities can take to give Muslims across the country maximum reassurance that they are being protected.

The perpetrator of this attack – and those terrible attacks that we saw recently in Manchester and London – their intention is to seek to divide society . My message to them is that they will always, always fail, he said. Flowers have been laid near the scene, with one card reading: This is an attack on all Londoners – and on my community. In a statement, the Muslim Council of Scotland condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms . It said: This attack was aimed directly at the vibrant Muslim community during the month of Ramadan at a time when many families would have been returning home after night time prayers. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, the injured and anyone affected by this tragedy .

Our heart goes out to the people of London who have been through so much in the last few months and are still waiting for news on many friends and family in the Grenfell Tower tragedy. This attack goes to show how hate and terrorism has no religion or face . The motive of these people is to spread division .

Together, as a united community, we can defeat those who seek to divide us. Assistant Chief Constable Nelson Telfer, of Police Scotland, said: There is no specific threat to Scotland, however, Police Scotland is increasing armed patrols in response to the attack in London. We continue to engage with all communities providing reassurance and appropriate support.

Communities absolutely do defeat terrorism: if you see or hear something that could be terrorist related, act on your instincts and call the police on 101 or, in emergency 999, or in confidence on 0800 789 321.

References

  1. ^ has been arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder (www.scotsman.com)

Finsbury Park mosque attack: Suspect Darren Osborne, 47, previously unknown to security services

The man suspected of deliberately driving a van into a crowd outside a mosque in north London was unknown to security forces, it has been confirmed, as local communities pay tribute to the one person dead and 10 injured after the crash. Police are treating the incident, which took place as worshippers were leaving the mosque in Finsbury Park just after midnight on Monday, as a terror attack1 the third such atrocity to hit the capital in recent months after vehicles were used to mow down pedestrians in Westminster and on London Bridge. Security minister Ben Wallace said the driver, named as 47-year-old Darren Osborne2 from Cardiff, was not known to the authorities in the space of extremism or far-right extremism . He is believed to have acted alone.

Osborne was originally arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, but he is now also facing charges relating to the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism . Police are investigating whether the victim died as a result of the attack or a separate health emergency, as he was already receiving first aid outside the mosque at the time. Theresa May said the Government will review security at mosques across Britain, vowing that hatred and evil of this kind will never succeed . Outside Downing Street, the Prime Minister said the attack on Muslims near their place of worship was every bit as sickening as those which have come before .

Extra police resources have already been deployed to reassure communities, and the police will continue to assess the security needs of Mosques and provide any additional resources needed, especially during this final week before Eid Al-Fitr, a particularly important time for the whole Muslim community, she said.

There has been far too much tolerance of extremism in our country over many years and that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia . That is why this Government will act to stamp out extremist and hateful ideology both across society and on the internet, so it is denied a safe space to grow.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have contrasting receptions at Finsbury Park mosque visits

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: My thoughts are with all those affected by the appalling incident at Finsbury Park.

I am in contact with the Metropolitan Police who have confirmed it is being investigated by their Counter Terrorism Command.

We must all continue to stand together, resolute, against all those who try to divide us and spread hate and fear. Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, whose Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency lies close to the scene, called for police to review security at mosques. She tweeted: Terror attack outside #FinsburyPark mosque . Police must urgently review security for all mosques #StandTogether.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said her thoughts were with the community and emergency services, adding: We will not be divided. Ms May met faith leaders at Finsbury Park Mosque the afternoon after the attack, but faced heckles as she left the building . Crowds shouted Have you got a faster taxi today ? and how can you be so quick today? , a criticism of her response to last week s devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in west London, in which 79 people are presumed dead.

At around 12.20am, a speeding white van swerved into people gathered outside the Muslim Welfare House mosque on Seven Sisters Road . Eight people were taken to hospital and two were treated at the scene . All the victims were Muslim. Abdul Rashid, 18, who witnessed the aftermath of the attack, described the driver as desensitised and said he wasn’t distressed, not in the slightest . He told The Independent it appeared the suspect knew exactly what he was doing .

When people were holding him down he was saying ‘you can kill me, I’ve done my job’ . He was saying he had come here to kill Muslims, said Mr Rashid .

He looked blank . You could tell he didn’t care . It was 100 per cent deliberate. Searches are being carried out at a residential address in Cardiff in condition with the mosque attack, according to the Metropolitan Police . Images of the van used in the attack showed it was rented from Pontyclun Van Hire, around 12 miles west of Cardiff.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the capital would stay strong in the difficult period and not allow these terrorists to succeed.

While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge, it is also an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect, he said. There has been a reported surge in hate crime against Muslims in Britain following the London attacks carried out by Islamist extremists and a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on May 22 that killed 22 people, almost half of whom were aged under 20. The week after the Manchester attack, which was claimed by Isis, verified reports of Islamophobic hate crimes increased more than fivefold, according to the organisation Tell Mama, which monitors anti-Muslim hatred in Britain.

In the seven days after the London Bridge attack on 3 June, there was a 240 per cent rise in reported hate crimes, said the charity . Figures from City Hall also show a sharp rise in anti-Muslim incidents after three attackers hit pedestrians on the bridge before launching a knife attack on people in bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market. An imam reportedly saved the van driver involved in the suspected Finsbury Park attack from being attacked by members of the public in the immediate aftermath of the crash . One witness said the furious crowd might have injured or killed Osborne were it not for the intervention of Mohammed Mahmoud. An eyewitness who gave his name as Abdul told The Independent Osborne 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’. Community groups and charities have condemned the attack, warning against entering a cycle of tit-for-tat violence that is the goal of extremists . In a statement, the organisation Hope Not Hate said we must oppose far-right extremism with the same intensity that we oppose Islamist extremism – a plague on both their houses is our call, as we said back in 2013 after the murder of Lee Rigby.

Finsbury Park Mosque Attack: Suspect Darren Osborne, 47, Previously Unknown To Security ServicesReuse content3

References

  1. ^ terror attack (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ Darren Osborne (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ Reuse content (www.independent.co.uk)

Security at mosques to be reviewed after Finsbury Park attack, says PM

The Prime Minister has said security at mosques across Britain will be reviewed after a van was driven into a crowd of Muslim worshippers in the latest terror attack to hit Britain. Theresa May called the attack “every bit as sickening as those that have come before”. She chaired a meeting of the emergency COBRA committee at Downing Street and later visited Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, near the site of the attack, meeting with community and faith leaders. The Metropolitan Police said there will be more uniformed officers at places of worship, including mosques and Muslim community centres, as they try to reassure local people. Speaking outside Number 10, Mrs May said the terrorist attack1 “targeted the ordinary and the innocent going about their daily lives”. “Today we come together as we have done before to condemn this act and to state once again that hatred and evil of this kind will never succeed,” she added. Mrs May said security was being stepped up.

“Extra police resources have already been deployed to reassure communities, and police will continue to assess the security needs of mosques and provide any additional resources needed,” she said.

The Government last summer announced a fund devoted to the security of places of worship, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said. “We have made available 2.5m,” she told Sky News. “I recently announced who would be getting those additional funds, which included 12 mosques, and actually I have reopened it recently to make sure that any additional place of worship that feels the need can apply for extra security.”

The attack happened shortly after midnight, when a man drove a van into a crowd of worshippers outside the mosque, injuring 10 people and leaving one dead. A 47-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and terror offences. It is the fourth terror attack since March in the country, and the third to involve a vehicle deliberately driven at pedestrians.

Image: The scene as Mrs May visited the mosque

It comes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. For the Prime Minister, it comes at a difficult time, following her disastrous election gamble and the Grenfell Tower fire, in which dozens of people died. Hers and the Government’s response to the blaze was widely criticised for lacking empathy . Mrs May did not meet any survivors when she first visited the scene of the fire, and was heckled when she returned a day later. Mrs May is fighting for her survival2 amid rumours a leadership challenge might be imminent.

Image: Communities Secretary Sajid Javid says the Government will fight ‘anti-Muslim hate crime’

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid also visited the scene, and, outside the police cordon, comforted a woman who was visibly shaking. Mr Javid said: “I want to reassure both the local Muslim community, but also Muslims across the United Kingdom, that they will always have the full support of this government in fighting anti-Muslim hate crime.” Jeremy Corbyn, who lives near the site of the attack, expressed “absolute shock”.

After meeting with faith leaders at Finsbury Park Mosque, the Labour leader called the attack “an act of terror against a wholly innocent community who were coming out of prayers and walking home on the street next to where I live”.

“I am of course critical of cuts made to the police service, I make no criticism of the police behaviour or reaction last night.”

References

  1. ^ terrorist attack (stage.news.sky.com)
  2. ^ fighting for her survival (news.sky.com)