Suspect Arrested in Stabbing at London Mosque
LONDON — A 70-year-old man was stabbed by an attacker who burst into London Central Mosque during Afternoon Prayer on Thursday before being subdued and arrested, the police said.
Police officers were called about 3:10 p.m. after reports of an attack, the Metropolitan Police said. They said the injuries the person who was stabbed were not life-threatening, but they did not reveal the identity of the suspect.
The motive for the stabbing was not immediately clear.
Images and video footage posted on Twitter showed people at the mosque, a Central London landmark near Regent’s Park, subduing a barefoot man wearing a red jacket. Afternoon Prayer had just began when the attack took place.
A video taken inside the mosque shows a crowd of men gathered around the suspect as the police restrain him. A knife can be seen on the floor a few feet away.
“Please brother, let the police do their job,” a man can be heard saying in the clip. Another shows the suspect being led away by police officers.
Miqdaad Versi, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, told the BBC that the attack at what he called one of the most iconic mosques in the capital was “deeply disturbing.” Mr. Versi said that the man who was stabbed was being treated at a hospital and that his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.
The mosque dates from 1940, when the British government was persuaded to find a location in London for Muslims.
Winston Churchill’s war cabinet authorized the acquisition of the site, but construction did not begin until 1974. The mosque was completed in 1977, and it can accommodate 5,000 people for Friday Prayer.
On Thursday, however, the house of worship was surrounded by police vehicles and cordoned off with crime scene tape.
In June 2017, a British man drove a rental van into a congregation of Muslim worshipers leaving a mosque in the Finsbury Park area of the city.
One person was killed and at least 10 others injured in that attack, which took place during Ramadan, the holiest month on the Muslim calendar.
Darren Osborne was later convicted of murder and attempted murder after an eight-day trial at the Woolwich Crown Court.
During testimony, the court was told he had become “obsessed” with Muslims and hoped to kill Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, as well as the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, at a different location.
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