Local community reacts to London mosque attack
Video provided by AFP
LONDON — For the past six years, Abdul Ahmad has told friends that his ethnically diverse neighborhood of Finsbury Park was safe from violence or terrorism. The only thing people disagree about is which rival soccer team to support, Arsenal or Tottenham.
Any notion of this north London enclave being immune from Britain’s spate of four terrorist attacks in three months was shattered early Monday after a van swerved into a group of Muslim worshipers leaving evening prayers, injuring nine people. One man died at the scene. Police said he had been receiving first aid when the attack happened but it was not immediately clear whether his death was a direct result of the assault.
The driver of the van, Darren Osborne, 47, a father of four from Cardiff, Wales, was arrested on suspicion of terror-related offenses. Witnesses said he shouted “I’m going to kill all Muslims — I did my bit,” after ramming the van into the pedestrians.
Officials said the suspect was not known to authorities and was believed to have acted alone.
“It’s scary and difficult to understand,” explained Ahmad, 28, a Somalian refugee, as he stood near the crime scene Monday that was still roped off by police. “You run away from a dangerous place like Somalia only for the danger to be still there with you. The world seems very small right now.”
A nearby shop displays giant posters of some of Arsenal’s most famous soccer players and sells the team’s merchandise.
The mixed-income neighborhood reacted with solidarity, as has become commonplace after terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere. But there was also sorrow — and revulsion — of another assault on British soil.
“We all live together in this place, and we are proudly multicultural,” said Hanaja Fischer, 65,…