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Police question 'troubled' anti-Muslim van attacker

26 June 2017

Fears have been growing among Muslims here that they could be singled out by extremists in tit-for-tat attacks because of other attacks carried out in the name of Islam, even though they are widely denounced by the mainstream Muslim community.

A vehicle swerved into a group of mainly North and West African people shortly after midnight as they left prayers at the Muslim Welfare House and the nearby Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, one of the biggest in Britain, in what Prime Minister Theresa May said was a sickening, terrorist attack on Muslims. "Our heartfelt thoughts are with everyone affected by the appalling attack in Finsbury Park".

Speaking at Downing Street, May said police chose to treat the incident as a terror attack within eight minutes of receiving the first emergency call.

He described a five-fold rise in reporting of Islamophobic crimes following the Manchester attack and a two-fold rise after the London Bridge atrocity.

The use of a vehicle to mow down pedestrians drew horrifying parallels with this month s London Bridge attack.

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Locals massing at barriers, angry at police, people confused about what has happened.

Neighbours said Osborne had been thrown out of The Hollybush, his local pub in Pentwyn, a suburb of Cardiff, on Saturday for drunkenly insulting Muslims.

The father of four was apprehended by the crowd and is now held on suspicion of murder and terror offenses.

In a statement on behalf of the family, his nephew Ellis Osborne, 26, said: "We are massively shocked".

Abdikadir Warfa, who was on the street at the time, said the van turned into an alleyway and hit a number of people before coming to a stop.

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Security Minister Ben Wallace told BBC radio that the suspect was "not known to us".

The suspect, who is believed to have been from Weston-super-Mare, remains in custody at a south London police station. He is also believed to have lived in Swindon. One man died at the scene, although he was receiving first aid at the time and it wasn't clear if he died as a result of the attack or from something else.

The man who allegedly shouted "I want to kill more Muslims" after driving a van into worshippers outside Finsbury Park Mosque has been described by friends and neighbours as someone who kept to himself but was, seemingly, a "normal bloke".

The next day Osborne was filmed hurling abuse as he was placed under citizen arrest and later detained by police outside the Finsbury Park mosque. One man died at the scene, but police are still investigating if the death is directly related to the van attack.

The Met Police commissioner and leaders of various faiths took part in the vigil, in which hundreds of people turned out to pray for the victims (and the sorry state of our nation).

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