Imam hailed as hero for calming crowd and defending attacker

The suspect was identified by British media as Darren Osborne, a father of four who lived in the Welsh capital Cardiff.

“We have a witness saying that the guy who did what he did, the driver of the van, said ‘I did my bit, ‘ which means he’s not mentally ill”, Kacimi said.

“I saw him on the news and I thought “Oh my God” that is my neighbour”.

One person was killed and ten injured when a hired van ploughed into Muslim worshippers leaving a mosque after late-night Ramadan prayers.

The police statement does not mention Osborne by name.

Police said the attack happened while a man, who later died, was receiving first aid after being taken ill.

Mahmoud called on the incensed worshippers not to commit a sin during the holy fasting month of Ramadan. “His silence or his delay really sends a negative message to the American Muslim community that their lives and their safety are not as important as the lives and safety of other citizens”.

A spokesman said police investigations are “continuing to establish whether there is any link between his death and the attack” adding: “The man suspected of driving the van was detained by members of the public at the scene”.

The Prime Minister did not initially meet the families of those affected by last week’s blaze in Kensington, instead holding a private meeting with the emergency services.

Police investigating a van attack on Muslims outside a mosque announced they were searching a property in Cardiff as they confirmed a man arrested at the scene was suspected of terror offences.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said “people in the Muslim community, attending prayers, will see their police protecting them in coming days”.

The Finsbury Park Mosque was once a notorious hub for radical Islamists but has changed markedly in recent years under new management.

“We found that a group of people quickly started to collect around him, around the assailant and some tried to hit him either with kicks or punches”.

However, the incident is being treated as a terror attack.

The couple are said to have split, with Osborne reported to have been an unemployed former barman who was recently living in a tent in woodland.

“There were a group of brothers who were calm and collected and managed to calm people down and to extinguish any flames of anger or mob rule that would have taken charge had this group of mature brothers not stepped in”, he said.

Hannah Jenkins, 23, who works in the local Spar shop, said: “I think everyone is in shock”. These are the values that define this city, “she said”.

“It’s like pulling teeth to get President Trump to respond to terror attacks on Muslims”, said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Only a few years ago, one of the most devastating attacks on European soil took place at the hands of a white supremacist, Anders Breivik, in Norway.