After Finsbury Park terrorist attack:
Campaigners call on police to investigate Tommy Robinson hate video and inflammatory media headlines
Anti-racist campaigners have condemned in the strongest terms the Finsbury Park terrorist attack.
Counter-terrorism police are investigating the attack, where a where a white van deliberately mowed down Muslim men and women leaving late evening prayers from Finsbury Park Mosque and Muslim Welfare House, just after midnight on 19 June 2017.
Witnesses say there were three men in the van and two escaped. One shouted “I want to kill all Muslims.” The police have confirmed that one man has been arrested and charged with attempted murder, but currently there are no other suspects.
Campaigners are concerned about the context in which the attack took place, with inflammatory headlines in the press. For example the headline of a Douglas Murray article in The Sun on 4 June 2017 included: “..if we want peace then we need one thing – less Islam.” Regarding this headline, journalist James O’Brian earlier today tweeted “A fool could see some might take it literally.”
Stand up to Racism is calling on the counter-terrorism police to arrest and investigate Tommy Robinson, after a video is circulating online of former English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson saying “militias would be set up” and “will end up cleaning out this Islamic problem.”
Campaigners are also concerned about a misleading Daily Mail headline in response to the attack earlier today, which said: “White van driver injures at least 10 people after ploughing into a crowd outside London’s Finsbury Park mosque where hate cleric Abu Hamza once preached…” Abu Hamza is now in prison serving two life sentences in the US, after he was extradited in 2012 and is no longer liked to the Finsbury Park Mosque.
The current Finsbury Park Mosque Chairman Mohammed Kozbar shifted the Mosque onto a mainstream Islamic basis, has worked with the police and others against terrorism and hatred. The Mosque has been subjected to numerous hate crimes including an attempted arson attack in November 2015.
Weyman Bennett, Stand up to Racism Co-Convenor said:
“Our thoughts are with the victims of the appalling terrorist attack on Muslim worshippers in Finsbury Park. The attack followers months where the press and politicians have ratcheted up Islamophobic rhetoric against the Muslim community after the London and Manchester attacks. Theresa May famously said that ‘enough is enough’ after the Manchester bombing and wrongly linked terrorism with segregation. London is still mourning the victims of the Grenfell fire. We stand with our Muslim friends and neighbours and say we will not allow racism and Islamophobia to divide us.”
Sabby Dhalu, Stand up To Racism Co-Convenor said:
“Our thoughts are with those injured and affected by this attack. We condemn in the strongest terms this horrific attack on innocent people. Solidarity with Finsbury Park Mosque worshippers and all Muslims, who could now be frightened to pray at their local Mosque as a result of this attack during the holy month of a Ramadan.
“Finsbury Park Mosque’s record on campaigning against hatred and working with other faiths, the council, police, politicians and civil society is exemplary.
“Action must be taken against those that preach hate. We call on the police to arrest Tommy Robinson and investigate his hate video. We also call on the police to investigate inflammatory media headlines and record them as hate incidents. After Mohammed Saleem’s murder, the bombing of Mosques in the West Midlands in 2013, the murder of Jo Cox MP last year and now the Finsbury Park terrorist attack, there must be no double standards in combatting terrorism and hatred.”