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A driver plowed into a group of worshipers outside Finsbury Park Mosque in London, killing one person and injuring 10 others.
USA TODAY

Amid the chaos and agitation surging through a crowd early Monday after a van plowed into pedestrians outside London’s Finsbury Park Mosque, one person stepped in to protect the attacker, witnesses say: the mosque’s imam.

Imam Mohammed Mahmoud was being called a hero after he tried to keep bystanders at bay in the tense minutes after the incident.

The van slammed into worshipers leaving the mosque after midnight Ramadan prayers, injuring nine people. British Prime Minister Theresa May said police were investigating the incident as a terrorist attack.

Some pedestrians pushed the 47-year-old suspect to the ground, and Mahmoud, an imam from the Muslim Welfare House, jumped in and pleaded for calm.

At a press conference later Monday, Mahmoud credited “other brothers” for assisting in protecting the man from angry onlookers until police arrived.  “By God’s grace, we were able to protect him from harm,” he said. “So we pushed people away from him until he was safely taken by police into custody and put into the back of the van. And that’s all that we did. It wasn’t me alone, there were a group of brothers.”

Toufik Kacimi, the mosque’s chief executive, said the imam “helped calm the immediate situation after the incident and prevented further injuries and potential loss of life,” according to The Guardian.

Witness Hussain Ali, 28, told the Press Association that “the leader of the mosque said ‘You do not touch him.’

“He was sitting and holding him like that, people kept holding him,” Ali said.

Mamhoud was joined by several other bystanders who formed a protective ring around the suspect until police…