Wednesday 20 September 2017

Imam helped protect suspect from mob and deliver him to police

Mohammed Mahmoud, an Imam at Finsbury Park Mosque, gives a statement to the media at a police cordon in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 19, 2017, following a vehicle attack on pedestrians. AFP PHOTO / Isabel INFANTESISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images
Mohammed Mahmoud, an Imam at Finsbury Park Mosque, gives a statement to the media at a police cordon in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 19, 2017, following a vehicle attack on pedestrians. AFP PHOTO / Isabel INFANTESISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images
Mohammed Mahmoud (C), an Imam at Finsbury Park Mosque, gives a statement to the media at a police cordon in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 19, 2017, following a vehicle attack on pedestrians. / AFP PHOTO / Isabel INFANTESISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images

An imam from a nearby mosque helped calm the situation as angered witnesses swarmed around the suspect of the Finsbury Park mosque attack on Monday.

One man died and 10 others were injured when a van was rammed into worshippers, before the driver is said to have screamed: "I'm going to kill all Muslims".

Bystanders held down the Darren Osborne, the man suspected of driving a van into pedestrians and reportedly punched and kicked him.

Imam Mohammed Mahmoud shouted "don't touch him! No one touch him!" as police came to detain the suspect.

He told Sky News: "Last night as many of you know we arrived on the scene within minutes after the accident and we found the assailant on the floor, he'd been restrained by around three people, and the injured and deceased brother, they were being attended to and CPR was being administered on them.

"A group of people began to collect around the assailant and some tried to kill him with kicks or punches.

"With God's grace we managed to stop all forms of attack and abuse that were coming on him from every angle.

"A police drove past by coincidence, we flagged him down and told him what was going on.

Mohammed Mahmoud (C), an Imam at Finsbury Park Mosque, gives a statement to the media at a police cordon in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 19, 2017, following a vehicle attack on pedestrians. / AFP PHOTO / Isabel INFANTESISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images
Mohammed Mahmoud (C), an Imam at Finsbury Park Mosque, gives a statement to the media at a police cordon in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 19, 2017, following a vehicle attack on pedestrians. / AFP PHOTO / Isabel INFANTESISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images

"We said if you don't take him he might be seriously hurt. We pushed people away from him before he was safely taken away by police into custody and put into the back of a van."

The Muslim Welfare House praised the bravery of its imam who helped to calm the situation as members of the public detained the suspected attacker.

People shouted "Why did you do that? Why?" at the suspect, while another shouted "d---head".

But another shouted at them not to touch him.

A statement posted on the website of the Muslim Welfare House said the organisation had hosted a Great Get Together event in the memory of murdered MP Jo Cox for all faiths a few days ago and that the Muslim community in the area is "horrified" and "shocked" by Monday's incident.

"We have worked very hard over decades to build a peaceful and tolerant community here in Finsbury Park and we totally condemn any act of hate that tries to drive our wonderful community apart," it said.

"We would appeal for calm at this time. It is unhelpful for there to be speculation about the incident. All of our efforts should be towards getting justice for the victims and ensuring our community stays the diverse, tolerant and welcome place we know it to be. We call on all, including the media, to act responsibly at this time.

"We have already met with the police, council and our local MP, Jeremy Corbyn. We would like to thank them for their support.

"Our mosque and welfare centre provides vital support to many people in north London and we will continue to do this despite this incident.

"Muslim Welfare House has always welcomed the whole community. Only a few days ago we hosted a Great Get Together in memory of Jo Cox, attended by people of every faith and background.

"I would like to particularly thank our imam, Mohammed Mahmoud, whose bravery and courage helped calm the immediate situation after the incident and prevented further injuries and potential loss of life."

Mr Mahmoud continued: "This community of ours is a mild-mannered and calm community, not known for any violence. Our mosques are very peaceful and we will do our utmost to calm down any tensions.

"Immediately after the attack people were calm and they were praying for the victims of the attack".

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