A London Muslim community is recovering from a horrific attack outside an Islamic Centre in London that took place in the early hours of September 19th.
Worshippers attending an Ashura commemoration programme in Cricklewood were indiscriminately mowed down by a car in what is being considered an Islamophobic hate crime.
We have a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime in London. Places of worship – for people of all faiths – must remain safe.
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) September 19, 2018
The driver, a Caucasian male, was driving a red Nissan Juke with three others with him in the car. They were heard shouting Islamophobic slurs at the crowd before the attack.
The car sped down the road outside the centre before mounting the pavement and striking worshippers. They hit at least 5 people, 3 of which were seriously injured and are currently receiving treatment in hospital.
3 hurt as car hits crowd near Al-Majlis Al-Hussaini Islamic centre Islamic Centre in Cricklewood https://t.co/wHbn8lEJyH – Met Police not treating this as a terror incident despite the attackers shouting Islamophobic insults as they tried to drive into a crowd of Muslims 🙄
— Ruqaiya (@ruqaiya_h) September 19, 2018
The organisers, Al-Majlis Al-Hussaini, mentioned in a press release that a number of volunteers stood between the speeding vehicle and the worshippers, potentially saving dozens of innocent lives.
One volunteer, Ali Mashkhour, is being hailed a hero after pulling a child out of the path of the car.
A hero, Ali Mashkour, pulled a child out of the way as a car swerved (seems deliberately) onto the pavement into a crowd of Muslims outside @alhussainiorg. This was after terms such as "Muslim terrorist" had been hurled at mosque volunteers in an altercation earlier. pic.twitter.com/05MZwqQOLg
— Miqdaad Versi (@miqdaad) September 19, 2018
Police were quick to reach the scene and have currently cordoned off the area for investigation.
Ali Salman, who was outside the centre at the time, spoke of the incident on Facebook, saying, “we came out of the mosque walking towards our car, we heard loud bangs and car trying to run over some people, and the security guys shouting ‘stop him’, I realised it was something not normal so I pushed my friend Ammar off the street and ran in between a car and a van.”
He witnessed the car deliberately trying to run over more people and swerve into groups of people. “We were all in a huge shock and could not believe how close we came to death, literally milliseconds away from being run over full force by a raging terrorist.”
Horrified and disgusted by the violent attack against Shi’a Muslims in London who had gathered to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husayn.
Islamophobic terrorists indiscriminately mowed down attendees leaving the center. They ran over at least 5 people, severely injuring 3 pic.twitter.com/TDP3hFDeXP
— Shaykh Azhar Nasser (@ShaykhAzhar) September 19, 2018
“We are in deep shock at such an attack taking place on our community”, a spokesperson for The Hussaini Association said, “but remain proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society and as such we remain unintimidated and encourage all to continue to attend the Majlis (gathering) of Hussain – a man who defied a tyrant to deliver a message of love, unity, and patience which we remember to this day”.
A security guard at the centre told The Sun, “If the cars weren’t parked on both sides there could have been at least 15 people dead. It was mayhem… but everyone came together and helped people out.” He continued,
“Police tried to say it wasn’t a terror attack – but as you can see it’s definitely a terror attack. Look at the CCTV.”
The Hussaini Association have one of the largest Ashura programs in London and have been running their Ashura programme for several decades. They have promised to continue their 10-day programme ending with the day of Ashura on September 20th.
Also published on Medium.