A hero Imam helped pin down the Finsbury Park terror suspect and told angry crowds: ‘Don’t hit him – hand him into the police’.
Muslim leader Mohammed Mahmoud urged irate witnesses not to attack the alleged killer after he ploughed into a crowd at high speed while driving a white van.
The extraordinary appeal for calm came while the suspect, 48, was shouting ‘I want to kill all Muslims – I did my bit’ before telling crowds that surrounded him: ‘Kill me, kill me’.
But Mr Mahmoud repeatedly yelled: ‘Don’t hit him, hand him over to the police, pin him down’ and more men joined him in protecting the unnamed white van driver.
Scotland Yard has praised the ‘restraint’ of the crowds who protected the alleged killer before the police arrived to arrest him.
Scotland Yard has praised the ‘restraint’ of the crowds who restrained and then protected the terror suspect before the police arrived to arrest him
This is the moment Finsbury Park Imam Mohammed Mahmoud (pictured centre in white) held down the man accused of launching a terror attack
The group of men pinned the suspect down and urged irate witnesses not to hurt him
The suspect is believed to have used this van rented in Wales as a weapon to try to kill and maim Finsbury Park worshippers
Adil Rana, 24, who was outside the mosque when the van drove towards the crowd, saw blood and ‘people dead on the floor’ in the aftermath.
He told the Press Association: ‘The van was driving towards us to try and basically hit us at speed and everyone was shocked and people were screaming. There were people on the floor.’
Mr Rana, from Walthamstow, said the driver was held on the ground by some of the crowd after getting out the vehicle.
He said: ‘The driver jumped out and then he was pinned down to the floor and people were punching him and beating him, which was reasonable because of what he’s done.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu praised the restraint shown by those who held him down
‘And then the imam of the mosque actually came out and said ‘Don’t hit him, hand him over to the police, pin him down’.’
Mr Rana said the driver gestured and mocked the crowds as he was taken away by police.
He added: ‘When he got arrested, he was taunting, saying ‘I’d do it again, I’d do it again’.’
Scotland Yard has today thanked them for detaining him.
Toufik Kacimi, chief executive of the Muslim Welfare House, said the local community was ‘horrified’ by the incident and appealed for calm.
He also thanked Imam Mohammed Mahmoud ‘whose bravery and courage helped calm the immediate situation after the incident and prevented further injuries and potential loss of life’.
‘We have worked very hard over decades to build a peaceful and tolerant community here in Finsbury Park and we totally condemn any act of hate that tries to drive our wonderful community apart,’ Mr Kacimi said.
‘We would appeal for calm at this time. It is unhelpful for there to be speculation about the incident. All of our efforts should be towards getting justice for the victims and ensuring our community stays the diverse, tolerant and welcome place we know it to be.’
He added: ‘An old man has passed away, what for? What did he do? He was just coming out of prayers, a nice gentleman going home after prayers and he is hit and killed by a car – what did he do? Why? Why?
‘The guy, he came out and said ‘You deserve, I did my bit, you deserve it’ and he was shouting and screaming abusive language – what for? What did he do, this man? He is an innocent man’.
The injured are carried from the scene by police and paramedics – one is dead and ten are injured
The suspect, smiled, waved and blew kisses after his arrest in an attempt to rile crowds, it has been claimed
Shocking: This is the moment the Finsbury Park mosque terror suspect was filmed blowing a kiss minutes after he mowed down a crowd and said: ‘I want to kill all Muslims – I did my bit’
Mr Kacimi said the Muslim Welfare House had met with police, the council and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is MP for Islington North, in the wake of the incident.
He added: ‘I would like to particularly thank our Imam Mohammed Mahmoud, whose bravery and courage helped calm the immediate situation after the incident and prevented further injuries and potential loss of life.’
Eyewitness Hussain Ali, 28, said that, while being restrained, the man was protected by the people he is thought to have been targeting.
He said: ‘The leader of the mosque said ‘You do not touch him’. He was sitting and holding him like that, people kept holding him.
‘All the police and helicopters came after around eight minutes.’
Mr Ali described the horrifying scene unfolding outside the Islamic centre in north London early on Monday morning.
‘All I heard was a banging, then I turned and saw all the shouting and running.
‘I saw people taking a man from underneath the van, he was black, bleeding, he was not dead, he was alive.
‘There was a man in a wheelchair, a man underneath the van, it was hell.
‘People who were inside saw the attacker was smiling, he was waving, he was happy.
‘It was panic, people were shouting, screaming, some saying it was an accident.
‘It was panic, it was horror.’
In the wake of the carnage, the valour of an imam called Mohammed Mahmoud was also hailed by the religious community.
One man has died and a tent is over the spot where he was ran down – police are trying to investigate if he died as a result of the attack or whether he had collapsed because of the heat beforehand
Eyewitness Abdul Rahman told the BBC said the white van driver clearly said he wanted to ‘kill all Muslims’.
Mr Rahman, hit him and then helped pin him down.
He said: ‘When the guy came out from his van he wanted to escape, run away and he was saying: ‘I want to kill Muslims. I want to kill Muslims’.
‘I hit him on his stomach and then me and the other guys, we held him to the ground until he couldn’t move. We stopped him until the police came.’
Police have paid tribute to the men who held him down after the attack on a group of worshippers near a mosque by a man in a white van.
One man died after the terror suspect, described as a large white man, targeted people near the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London early on Monday.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: ‘This is being treated as a terrorist attack.’
He added: ‘I would like to thank those people who helped police in detaining the man and worked with officers to calmly and quickly get him into our custody.
‘Their restraint in the circumstances was commendable’.
Three months of horror: How Britain has been rocked by terror attacks and a devastating fire
March 22 – Westminster Bridge attack
Lone terrorist Khalid Masood, 52, sped along Westminster Bridge, killing four pedestrians before stabbing PC Keith Palmer, 48, to death outside the Houses of Parliament. Masood died in hospital after being shot by armed police.
Khalid Masood, 52 (left) murdered five people on a crazed rampage along Westminster Bridge. He was shot by police (right)
May 22 – Manchester Arena bombing
Suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, detonated a nail bomb, killing 22, including children as young as eight, and injuring 120 music fans leaving an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Salman Abedi, 22 (left) detonated a nail bomb, killing 22, including children as young as eight, and injuring 120 music fans leaving an Ariana Grande concert in Mancheste
April 27 – Man arrested with bag of knives in Westminster
Just five weeks after the Westminster Bridge terror attack, a suspect was detained with a ‘rucksack full of knives’ near Parliament Square after being tracked on an intricate web of CCTV cameras by police and MI5.
On May 9, Khalid Mohammed Omar Ali, 27, from north London, was charged with three crimes in relation to incidents in England and Afghanistan and dating back as far as 2012.
Ali faces one count of preparation of terrorists acts, with the intention of committing acts of terrorism. He has also been charged with two offences under the Explosive Substance Act 1883, relating to activity in Afghanistan in 2012.
Khalid Mohammed Omar Ali was charged with one count of preparation of terrorists acts, and two offences under the Explosive Substance Act 1883 following the incident in Westminster
June 3 – London Bridge and Borough Market attacks
Terrorists Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba hired a van and ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge before going on a knife rampage attacking people enjoying meals and drinks in Borough Market, killing eight people and leaving 21 in a critical condition.
From left, London Bridge and Borough Market attackers: Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba
June 14 – Grenfell Tower inferno
In the early hours of June 14, an inferno ripped through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, London.
Met Police revealed that the official number of people either dead or missing – currently 58 – is still expected to rise following searches of the wreckage.
In the early hours of June 14, an inferno ripped through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, London
June 18 – Finsbury Park mosque attack
A 48-year-old man was arrested after using a white hire van to plough into worshippers outside the Muslim Welfare House, near Finsbury Park Mosque, shortly after they finished Ramadan evening prayers.
At least one person was confirmed dead at the scene, with a further ten injured in the attack.
A 48-year-old man was arrested after using a white hire van to plough into worshippers outside the Muslim Welfare House, near Finsbury Park Mosque