After the deadly London mosque van attack, Imam Mohammed Mahmoud is being praised by members of the community, as well as people across the world, for having protected the attacker from angry bystanders who saw the man callously plow into their friends.
Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme yesterday, he said most people are welcoming and friendly in Northern Ireland, but they have increased security following the attacks in Britain.
Witnesses said Osborne claimed he wanted to “kill all Muslims” after he drove into a crowd leaving a mosque early Monday morning.
London police chief Cressida Dick said the incident was “quite clearly an attack on Muslims” and promised a stepped-up police presence near mosques as the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close.
“By God’s grace, we were able to protect him from harm”, the imam said. Basu said it was a “challenging” time for London and that the emergency services were stretched.
“We all have harmony in this area, and these people try to divide us, but we tell them that we will not let you do that”.
“That’s all that we did”.
“We managed to extinguish any flames of anger or mob rule that might have taken charge”, he told reporters, adding he was acting with “a group of mature brothers”.
Mr Mahmoud said the van was travelling fast enough to knock people sideways and had driven deliberately into the crowd.
Staff at the firm said they were “shocked and saddened” by what happened. Saleem Naema, who is from Iraq, lives on the same road. At least 79 people are reported to have died in the fire. “If he wasn’t there, the guy wouldn’t be here today”.
We should follow the example of the Muslim community and show that these individuals do not share London’s vision for unity. An imam prevented people from taking revenge on the man, he said.
“The Muslim Community in this area is horrified at this incident and is concerned and shocked at the events”.
‘As a mum my heart goes out to everyone in Finsbury Park‘.
Monday’s attack is the fourth terror attack in the United Kingdom in four months, after incidents in Westminster, Manchester and on London Bridge. Since then incidents of hate crime have risen, police say.
In a telephone interview with ITV News, his mother described him as a “complex” person but said “that’s all I can say”.
She said: ‘I’m not going to defend him, but he’s my son and it’s a bad, awful shock. Despite continued criticism of innocent Muslims after recent terror attacks, they have rightly denounced the perpetrators who attempt to identify with their religion.
Terrorism Analyst Michael S Smith II posted an example of pro-Islamic State message boards on Telegram asking why the attackers were shot in the Borough Market attack but not during this one.
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.
The date is otherwise known as Laylat al-Qadr, and marks when verses of the Koran were revealed to Mohammed.
Security agencies are expected to be on high alert for the last 10 days of Ramadan which are the most religiously significant, particularly the “Night of Power” due to fall on June 21.