NICE, France – Several Muslims were reportedly killed and injured in the gruesome attack in Nice on Thursday night, which has claimed the lives of 84 people and rendered at least 100 injured.
“There were so many Muslim people who were victims because I could see they had scarves over their head and some were speaking Arabic. One family lost a mother and in Arabic they were saying she’s a martyr,” Iranian journalist Maryam Violet told the Guardian.
“People were shouting, ‘It’s a terrorist attack, it’s a terrorist attack,’ it was clear that the driver was doing it deliberately.”
The attack occurred late on Thursday when a lorry ploughed through a crowd of people watching fireworks to celebrate French national holiday Bastille Day in the city on the French Riviera.
No clear motive has yet emerged why the driver, who was known to police for petty crimes, carried out the attack, but the incident is being treated as a terrorist incident.
The council called for French Muslims to pray on Friday for “the memory of the victims of this barbarian attack”.
Muslims in America, Canada, Gulf, and Egypt also condemned the vicious attack.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, called for volunteers from different religious communities in France to offer help in the wake of the attacks.
“We will work with the imams, priests and rabbis who will also join us to help the victims and families who are suffering and will probably never heal their wounds … I want to thank people who welcomed passersby and those people who show us tonight that hopefully, solidarity still exists in a world that is too egoistical and individualistic.”
France is home to a Muslim community of nearly six million, the largest in Europe.
French Muslims have been complaining of restrictions on performing their religious practices.
A report released earlier this year by France’s National Human Rights Commission (CNCDH) revealed that anti-Muslim attacks tripled over the past year, reaching a new peak in the most Muslim-populated European country.
Making a 223 percent increase, a total of 429 anti-Muslim threats or hate crimes were reported last year, up from 133 in 2014.