LONDON – Three people were injured after a car drove into pedestrians near The Hussaini Association, a Muslim community center, in Cricklewood, London in the early morning of Wednesday, September 19th. Two of the injured were taken to hospital for treatment.
CCTV video footage obtained by the BBC shows the car driving towards the center, pursued by members of the congregation chasing after it to help. One witness said the driver “was trying to kill people.” Ali Salman said he was milliseconds from injury as the car swerved into groups of people.
The police determined that at 00:20 security members at the Muslim community center were made aware of anti-social behavior from a car with three men and a woman. When asked to leave a car park they then drove to the Muslim community center, Islamophobic remarks were made, and as it drove off, it drove into three people.
Dawn Butler the MP for Brent said, “This is a very sad and tragic event. There is no room for hate. .. Brent is the most diverse constituency in the UK and our diversity is our strength.”
This is a very sad and tragic event. There is no room for hate.
Anyone with information please contact the police.
Brent is the most diverse constituency in the UK and our diversity is our strength. https://t.co/qIwNmb2OzR
— (((Dawn Butler MP))) (@DawnButlerBrent) September 19, 2018
Commenting on Dawn’s Tweet showed the frustration shown by many. “Dawn, let’s not mince our words. This was without a doubt yet another cowardly Terror Attack against the Muslim minority in Britain!! A Product of May’s Hostile Environment, #ToryIslamophobia, pandering to racists and scapegoating minorities! We need to stand up to those bastards.”
Dawn, let's not mince our words. This was without a doubt yet another cowardly Terror Attack against the Muslim minority In Britain!!
A product of May's Hostile Environment, #ToryIslamophobia, pandering to racists and scapegoating minorities!
We need to stand up to those bastards
— M V (@MuseAndVent) September 19, 2018
A similar sentiment was expressed by Baroness Warsi, a British Muslim woman who responded to a remark by Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary who is also a British Muslim.
Sajid Tweeted, “Whatever the outcome of the police investigation, this Government has been clear that hate crime will never be tolerated. We must stand together against those who seek to divide us.”
To which Baroness Warsi remarked, ‘I think the words you are looking for @sajidjavid are “my thoughts are with those injured & their families. A car was driven into worshippers injuring families-there is a real fear in mosques across the UK. This response from the Home Sec is disappointingly late * mealy-mouthed.”
I think the words you were looking for @sajidjavid are
“My thoughts are with those injured & their families”
A car was driven into worshippers injuring families-there is real fear in mosques across the UK 😞
This response from Home Sec is disappointingly late & mealy mouthed. https://t.co/ab06jWFUvn
— Sayeeda Warsi (@SayeedaWarsi) September 19, 2018
The spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain Miqdad Versi shared photos of the ambulance crew assisting the injured on Twitter. Along with a series of reports from various news outlets.
In his chain of Tweets Versi cites an unsung hero, a man named Ali Mashkour who pulled a child out of the way as the car swerved, saving the child from harm.
Reports suggest a car swerved into a crowd of Muslims outside the The Hussaini (Balaghiya) Association in Cricklewood, with 5 injured (3 seriously). Eye-witnesses apparently suggest perpetrators were heard shouting anti-Islamic sloguns.https://t.co/VmvysZgpC5 pic.twitter.com/niMOgf8ccM
— Miqdaad Versi (@miqdaad) September 19, 2018
Speaking of the incident, DS Kelly Schonhage from Brent CID said: “We are treating this incident very seriously and a number of enquiries are underway to trace the car and those involved. Enquiries into the full circumstances of the collision are ongoing.”
On their Facebook page, The Hussaini Organisation released a statement in which they noted that patrons were attending a talk on Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussain, and that as guests were leaving they were confronted: “They were heard shouting anti-Islamic taunts at the crowd before they started their attack…Fortunately, a number of volunteers bravely stood between the speeding vehicle and patrons heading home. These acts of bravery potentially saved the lives of dozens of innocent people from being taken.”
British Muslims are increasingly feeling the brunt of attacks in the ‘hostile environment’ created by #Brexit, our departure from the European Union.
The pressures are such that at the recent UK Muslim Doctor’s Association annual dinner, the theme for the night was bullying and racism, observing that Muslims, in general, are increasingly becoming convenient targets for both aggression and blame.
Of course, this does not apply too much of society as a whole were people of all faith generally get along, but those who hold frustrations are feeling more free to express them at the expense of decency and dignity towards others. Irrespective of this hostile environment, sense, and sensibility continue to prevail in the Muslim response to aggression.
Al Balaghai, a spokesman for the Al Hussaini Association, wished the victims a speedy recovery adding, “We request all members of the public to stay calm and not fuel any retaliation. We can only extend our prayers to the families and the victims. We are in deep shock at such an attack taking place on our community but remain proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society.”
Speaking of the incident Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Simon Rose said, “We were extremely fortunate that there was no loss of life. It is being dealt with as an Islamaphobic hate crime and it is being dealt with as a racist hate crime.”