Dutch FM condemns "horrible" attack on London Mosque

After Finsbury Park attack, message of resiliency greets London Underground commuters
1 dead, at least 10 injured after vehicle strikes pedestrians in London
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20 June, 2017

"It seeks to drive us apart and to break the precious bonds of solidarity and citizenship which we share in this country", she said.

Neighbors and people in the area have had similar reactions.

Flowers were left at the scene where hours earlier the 47-year-old van driver was pinned down by locals and shielded from violence by an imam, before being detained by police.

Police said the driver was arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism, including murder and attempted murder.

After the London Bridge attack earlier this month, London mayor Sadiq Khan's office reported a 40 percent increase in racist incidents in the capital and a fivefold increase in anti-Muslim incidents.

A 48-year-old male suspect was arrested at the scene, according to London Metropolitan police, who said the investigation into the incident was ongoing.

Police have said hate crimes rose after the London Bridge attack and more officers would be deployed to provide reassurance to mosques.

Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain said that over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia, and this is the most violent manifestation to date. Eight injured people were taken to three separate hospitals, and three people were treated at the scene for minor injuries, police said. Two of them are seriously injured.

Finsbury Park Mosque said it was a "callous terrorist attack" and noted it had occurred nearly exactly a year after a man obsessed with Nazis and extreme right-wing ideology murdered lawmaker Jo Cox, a former humanitarian aid worker. Around 10% of the borough's population is Muslim.

"As a mum my heart goes out to everyone in Finsbury Park". The mosque, which today operates largely as a community center, rose to worldwide notoriety in the early 2000s, due to its links with Egyptian-born radical cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri.

Its former imam, Abu Hamza al-Masri, was jailed for life in NY on terrorism charges in 2015.

- Since then, the mosque has worked to turn its reputation around and now operates mostly as a community center. "Their restraint in the circumstances was commendable".

"We hear about radicalization in mosques", said Zara, who like many local residents declined to give CNN her last name.

"No, I'm not going to go to the mosque anymore. There is far more that unites us than divides us", he added.

"I feel insecure, but one thing I'll never do is take off my hijab", she says.

The crowd was a cross-section of this diverse London area, which, despite ever-increasing gentrification, is home to a wide array of nationalities and backgrounds. "We will let the police deal with him", he said.

"At this stage, we are calling for calm", he said.

"So we pushed people away from him until he was safely put into the back of the van". The victims were leaving important evening prayers a few minutes after midnight, following the end of their Ramadan fast.

The attack comes amid fears of retaliation against Muslims following two recent, deadly attacks in the United Kingdom, at Manchester Arena and London Bridge.

He vows "we will not allow these terrorists to succeed. we will stay a strong city".


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