Imam hailed as ‘hero’ for protecting terror suspect after Finsbury Park attack
Categories: Latest News
Tuesday June 20 2017
Imam Mohammed Mahmoud is reported to have used his body to shield the suspected terrorist – who had just driven a van into a group of Muslim worshippers, and who had been wrestled from his vehicle – from the fury of onlookers.
Darren Osborne is believed to be responsible for the terrorist attack that left one person dead and 11 injured when he drove his vehicle into a group of Muslims near Finsbury Park Mosque early on Monday morning.
Witnesses reported that the imam ordered those present: “Don’t hit him, hand him over to the police, pin him down.”
Police and community leaders have praised those who restrained the van driver in the chaos that followed the incident, and Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu thanked members of the public, commenting that the restraint of those who detained the suspect was commendable.
Mr Mahmoud was also hailed for his efforts to calm the situation in the aftermath and his influence in stopping others from attacking the man in anger.
It is reported that he guarded the suspect until the police arrived, telling the crowd: “Do not touch him.”
As tempers of onlookers flared, Mr Mahmoud and a group of people formed a protective ring around the suspect as police bundled him into the back of a van.
Mr Mahmoud himself has described how he protected the attacker from an angry mob, after he was pinned down at the scene.
He said: “We arrived at the scene within minutes and we found the assailant on the floor. He had been restrained by around three people.
“We found a group of people quickly started to collect around the assailant. And some tried to hit him, either kicks or punches.
“By God’s grace we manage to surround him and to protect him from any harm. We stopped all forms of attack and abuse towards him that were coming from every angle.
“A police van drove past so we flagged them down we told them the situation. There’s a man he’s restrained. He mowed down a group of people and there’s a mob attempting to hurt him.
”Mr Mahmoud, who is Iman at the Muslim Welfare Centre, added: “We pushed the people back. He didn’t say a word. He seemed calmed. I just heard he said ‘I did my bit’.
“It is a tragic and barbaric terrorist attack.”
According to Toufik Kacimi, the chief executive of the Muslim Welfare House, Mr Mahmoud’s “bravery and courage helped calm the immediate situation after the incident and prevented further injuries and potential loss of life”.
He continued, “Mohammed was the hero of the day, he was the one who contained the guy and held him up until the police came and took him away.”
Mr Mahmoud’s sister, Marian, told the London Evening Standard that “What he did was incredible. We are so proud of him.”
She added “He saw a group beating up the suspect, he ordered them to stop and flagged down the police.
“He is a hero. He wanted the man brought to justice. He is a peaceful, good Muslim his actions don’t surprise us. He does not want more violence.”