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Muslims injured as car ploughed into worshippers in ‘terror attack’

28th Sep 2018
Muslims injured as car ploughed into worshippers in ‘terror attack’

Three Muslims were injured after a car ploughed into the worshippers near the Hussaini Association Islamic centre, in north-west London on September 19 (Photo: Mobile phones footage)

Ahmed J Versi

Three Muslims were injured after a car ploughed into the worshippers near an Islamic centre in north-west London on September 19. The police refused to treat it as a terrorist attack instead said it was a hate attack. Head of Operations of the Hussaini Association Islamic centre, Muhammad Al-Bayati, disagreed with the police. “I believe it was a terrorist attack. They wanted to cause terror. According to the stewards, the attack was premeditated,” he said.

Founder of the Association, Mustafa Al-Balaghi, said he was “shocked” at the attacks. “It was as though we were watching a movie. It was catastrophic. It was a cowardly attack. We thank Allah that there were not many casualties.”
Al-Balaghi told the congregation to “have patience and tolerance.”

“I extend our prayers to the victims and their family.”

According to the Hussaini Association Islamic centre spokesperson, three white men and a woman, in a car, screaming Islamophobic abuse, “dirty Muslims”, ploughed into worshippers on the pavement, injuring three. One young boy, who might have suffered severe injuries if it was not for quick thinking by a former police officer who threw him from the path of the attacking car.

A man in his fifties remains in hospital and is being treated for a serious leg injury. Two men in their 20s suffered minor injuries.

The occupants of the car, all aged in their mid-twenties, who were drinking and allegedly using drugs, were asked to leave the mosque’s car park.

Al-Bayati told The Muslim News that the attackers tried to run down the stewards at the car park and then drove to Oxgate Lane to target the worshippers who were leaving the Centre.

“The attackers knew there was a Muslim event taking place, where the cars were parked. The attacks were not by chance. It was planned from before,” said Al-Bayati.

The attackers were blocking cars at the private car park. One of the patrons of the Centre asked them to leave but the attackers refused to budge. The driver was standing near their car and got aggressive and “began his Islamophobic rhetoric. He threatened to kill all Muslims.”

He asked the steward whether he was Shia or Sunni. “It seems they had knowledge about the different schools of thoughts in Islam.”

“It shows the attacks were premeditated with the intent to cause harm,” Al-Bayati said.

The driver tried to run over the steward twice. The stewards managed to get out of the car park. They went to the Oxgate Lane and shouted at the worshippers to take cover behind parked cars. Two young boys managed to hide behind the cars.

However, the attacker struck the steward and threw him down. The steward managed to get up, took a brick and threw at the car to stop it from attacking the worshippers. The steward was injured on his right side of the body.

A former police officer, Ali Mashkour, was standing with a group of people who were hit. He saw the car approaching. He saw an eight-year-old boy in the path of the speeding car. Mashkour quickly threw the boy away from the car and he too moved away. However, an old man behind him took the full force of the car attack. He was seriously injured and is still in hospital.

“There were around 1,500 people on the street. If the cars weren’t parked on both sides there could have been a large number of people killed,” said Al-Bayati.

Al-Bayati said no one expected such an attack. “Everyone was shocked and terrified. The following day people were contacting them whether to come or not. They were traumatised. It really impacted the community,” he said.

Al-Bayati said the response by the neighbours and people of other faith was “amazing.” Leaders of the two Synagogues nearby visited them. They also had visits from other mosques to show “solidarity with us.”

“The attack was sad but it brought us all together.”

“This incident is not being treated as terror related but the hate crime aspect of the collision is being looked at by detectives as an aggravating factor,” said police spokesperson.

An attack would be defined as terrorism if it was “for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause, and …use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological.

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