THE CONGREGATION at Finsbury Mosque have said they are “extremely unhappy” that the attack on them by a man deliberately driving a large van into a crowd of them, killing one and injuring 10, has been misreported as an isolated instance of insanity and not as a cold-blooded terrorist attack like those in Manchester and London Bridge in recent weeks.
In a statement, the Mosque said: “This is a callous terrorist attack, which coincides with the murdered MP, Jo Cox anniversary. We are extremely unhappy with the mainstream media not reporting this as a terrorist attack, whereas they are very swift in describing attacks involving individuals professing to be Muslims and acting in the name of Islam.
“We need fair and balanced reporting from the media; it is completely unacceptable that the media chooses to engage in selective reporting.”
The Mosque added: “The Finsbury Park Mosque condemns in the strongest terms a heinous terrorist attack earlier this morning in Finsbury Park, north London which resulted in many injured and reported fatalities. The van driver deliberately mowed down Muslim men and women leaving late evening prayers from Finsbury Park Mosque and Muslim Welfare House just after midnight.”
Police in Manchester and London have recorded a five-fold increase in hate crime against Muslims after the Manchester arena attack.
Far-right Islamophobic organisations like Britain First and Stephen Yaxley Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League (EDL), have been publicly describing the attack on Finsbury Park Mosque as a “revenge attack” and Britain First members have supported the actions of the terrorist, 47-year-old Darren Osborne.
The irony is that the majority of Muslims in Britain and around the world are far more likely to become victims of IS terrorism than most people in Britain.
Unlike the terrorists involved in the Manchester and London Bridge attacks, Osborne survived his crime, thanks to the actions of the Imam and his close colleagues, who held and protected the man after he was dragged from his stalled van by enraged worshippers amidst the blood and mayhem he had caused, until police arrived – which took quite a long time considering the Metropolitan Police are now supposed to be on high anti-terrorist alert.
Police forces around the country say they have stepped up protection for Muslim communities in the wake of the Finsbury Park attack, with the Home Secretary Amber Rudd pledging that the extra resource will remain in place “for as long as it is needed”.
In one case, Naveed Yasin, a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon who helped save the lives of people injured in the Manchester attack, was racially abused and labelled a “terrorist” on his way to work at Salford Royal hospital.
Other incidents around the country included one involving a woman from Southampton whose veil was ripped from her head and another involving a man struck with a glass bottle.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged people to “remain calm and vigilant”. He said: “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.
“The situation is still unfolding and I urge all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant. Please report anything suspicious to the police, but only call 999 in an emergency.”
The attack, which left one man dead and 10 others injured – some of them with very serious life-changing injuries – has been condemned by Stand up to Racism and Stop the War.
In a statement, Stop the War said: “As well as the appalling physical harm done, this was a terror attack designed to intimidate the Muslim community in the area and beyond.
“The Islamophobia that has been whipped up by governments and the media throughout the ‘War on Terror’ has contributed to an atmosphere in which attacks on Muslims are becoming all too familiar, though under-reported.
“Politicians have repeatedly used Islamophobia to bolster their positions, most notoriously during the last year’s mayoral elections. Theresa May’s recent statements against tolerance have only made matters worse.”
Stop the War will continue to campaign against British participation in foreign wars, many in Muslim countries. We will redouble our efforts to combat the racism and Islamophobia that they help to generate.
On Monday night a rally was organised outside the Mosque to express solidarity with the victims and was attended by Jeremy Corbyn, who is the MP for that area. He was very warmly welcomed.
Some of the Muslims gathered there were also in mourning for friends and relatives lost in the Grenfell Tower fire.