Authorities in London are holding a 47-year-old man under the suspicion of terrorism offenses after he rammed a van into pedestrians close to the Finsbury Park Mosque in North London. The attack killed 1 person and injured 10 others. The rented white van is reported to have intentionally hit a group of worshipers leaving the Finsbury Park Mosque after midnight prayers. The mosque is one of the biggest in London. The attacker was, however, lucky to escape with his life after an Imam at the mosque saved him from the people who tried to attack him. The suspect who was identified as Darren Osbourne is a father of 4 children and is from Cardiff, Wales.
Local authorities in the UK also said that the attacker was not known and was not under any suspicion. Police in London also believe that the suspect acted on his own but additional investigations are going on to establish any other relevant fact. The British Prime Minister said in a statement that the suspect targeted what she called the innocent and ordinary people. In a televised speech from 10 Downing Street, Theresa May called on the public to come together and condemn the incident calling it an act of terrorism designed to drive a wedge in British society. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the incident was a deliberate attack on innocent people in London and termed it as an attack on the shared values of people in the UK.
The London mayor also used the platform to express his dissatisfaction with the attempt by the British government to cut spending on the London Metropolitan Police. CEO of the Muslim Welfare Council, Toufik Kacimi, called for calm adding that the police and Jeremy Corbyn, the MP for the area, were all very helpful in diffusing the situation. Kacimi also dismissed any possibility of a mental health issue. He told Sky News that the incident was quite deliberate and was targeting a specific community. The company that rented out the van to the attacker also expressed their shock saying that they were saddened by the incident. The rental company stated that it was fully cooperating with the police to ensure justice to the victims is served.
Eyewitnesses at the scene were, however, angry with the long response time by the police. An angry man at the scene said that it took the police nearly 30 minutes to arrive. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party and also a member of the parliament for the constituency visited the scene of the attack on Monday. Mr. Corbyn said that he had met with the local Muslim leaders as well as police at the scene. The MP went on to urge all people affected to “stand against those who want to divide us.” The van attack follows three high-profile attacks by the Islamic State that have taken place in the UK since March including a devastating bomb explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that killed 22 people and injured nearly 60 others.