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19 June 2017

London mosque attack: van ploughs into worshippers in Finsbury Park

One man has died and eight have been injured. 

By Julia Rampen

Theresa May has called an overnight incident in which a van ploughed into worshippers outside a north London mosque a “potential terrorist attack”.

The attack occurred around 12.20am in Finsbury Park, a neighbourhood home to Somali, Algerian and Turkish communities. A van careered onto the pavement and struck worshippers who were leaving the mosque, and had stopped to tend to a man who was ill. One man died, and eight were injured, according to reports.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The Metropolitan Police are responding to a horrific terrorist attack on innocent people in Finsbury Park.”

He added: “We don’t yet know the full details, but this was clearly a deliberate attack on innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.

“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.”

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The Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit is investigating. 

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Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “During the night, ordinary British citizens were set upon while they were going about their lives, completing their night worship. My prayers are with the victims and their families. It appears from eyewitness accounts that the perpetrator was motivated by Islamophobia.

“Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia, and this is the most violent manifestation to date.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose constituency includes parts of Finsbury Park, said: “I’m totally shocked at the incident at Finsbury Park tonight. I’ve been in touch with the mosques, police and Islington council regarding the incident. My thoughts are with those and the community affected by this awful event.”