'Do Not Touch Him': Finsbury Park Mosque's Imam Stepped In To Protect Attacker From Crowd

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A driver plowed into a group of worshipers outside Finsbury Park Mosque in London, killing one person and injuring 10 others. USA TODAY

Mohammed Mahmoud, an imam at Finsbury Park Mosque, gives a statement to the media at a police cordon in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 19, 2017.(Photo: Isabel Infantes, AFP/Getty Images)

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Amid the chaos and agitation surging through a crowd early Monday after a van plowed into pedestrians outside London's Finsbury Park Mosque, one person stepped in to protect the attacker, witnesses say: the mosque's imam.

Imam Mohammed Mahmoud was being called a hero after he tried to keep bystanders at bay in the tense minutes after the incident.

The van slammed into worshipers leaving the mosque after midnight Ramadan prayers, injuring nine people. British Prime Minister Theresa May said police were investigating the incident as a terrorist attack.

Some pedestrians pushed the 47-year-old suspect to the ground, and Mahmoud, an imam from the Muslim Welfare House, jumped in and pleaded for calm.

At a press conference later Monday, Mahmoud credited "other brothers" for assisting in protecting the man from angry onlookers until police arrived.  “By God’s grace, we were able to protect him from harm,” he said. “So we pushed people away from him until he was safely taken by police into custody and put into the back of the van. And that’s all that we did. It wasn’t me alone, there were a group of brothers."

Toufik Kacimi, the mosque's chief executive, said the imam “helped calm the immediate situation after the incident and prevented further injuries and potential loss of life,” according to The Guardian.

Witness Hussain Ali, 28, told the Press Association that "the leader of the mosque said 'You do not touch him.'

"He was sitting and holding him like that, people kept holding him," Ali said.

Mamhoud was joined by several other bystanders who formed a protective ring around the suspect until police hustled him into the back of a van, the Evening Standard reported.

“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," Kacimi told the Standard.

Monday morning, the Muslim Welfare House headlined its website with this message: "All of us at Muslim Welfare House sends our thoughts and prayers to the victims and those injured in the major incident at Finsbury Park.  The Muslim Community in this area is horrified at this incident and is concerned and shocked at the events."

Mayor Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, implored the city's residents to show solidarity.

“While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge, it is also an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect,” Khan said.

Khan, who vowed "zero tolerance” for hate crimes, said “we will not allow these terrorists to succeed … we will stay a strong city.”

Read more:

>Suspect in London van attack arrested on terror charges

>Vehicle attack near London mosque: What we know

>London, a city on edge, is rattled again

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People attend a vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque
People attend a vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque on June 19, 2017 in London. Worshippers were struck by a van as they were leaving the mosque after Ramadan prayers. Nine people were injured and one person died at the scene.  Dan Kitwood, Getty Images>FullscreenPeople gather to attend a vigil outside Finsbury Park
People gather to attend a vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque in north London on June 19, 2017.  Isabel Infantes, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenForensic officers move the van at Finsbury Park in
Forensic officers move the van at Finsbury Park in north London, where a vehicle struck pedestrians in north London on June 19, 2017.   Frank Augstein, AP>FullscreenA Police officer stands on duty near tributes and flowers
A Police officer stands on duty near tributes and flowers in the Finsbury Park area of north London on June 19, 2017, following a vehicle attack on pedestrians.  Isabel Infantes, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenBritain's Prime Minister Theresa May, right, talk to
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, right, talk to faith leaders at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London on June 19, 2017.   Pool photo by Stefan Rousseau>FullscreenLabour leader Jeremy Corbyn talks to worshippers and
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn talks to worshippers and local residents at Finsbury Park Mosque on June 19, 2017 in London.  Pool photo by Stefan Rousseau>FullscreenA police officer stands outside a property during a
A police officer stands outside a property during a search of a house on Glyn Rhosyn, Pentwyn, which is believed to be the home of Darren Osborne, who has been named as the man responsible for the Finsbury Park Mosque attack, on June 19, 2017 in Cardiff, Wales.  Matthew Horwood, Getty Images>FullscreenA police forensics officer examines a van believed
A police forensics officer examines a van believe was involved in the incident near Finsbury Park Mosque. A van slammed into worshippers in what witnesses described as a deliberate attack on Muslims and that British Prime Minister Theresa May said police were investigating as a terrorist incident.  Carl Court, Getty Images>Fullscreen A woman leaves flowers outside Finsbury Park mosque
A woman leaves flowers outside Finsbury Park Mosque near the scene of a terror attack. Worshippers were struck by a van as they were leaving the mosque in North London after Ramadan prayers early Monday. One person was killed and 10 others injured.  Carl Court, Getty Images>FullscreenA police forensics officer works near the incident
A police forensics officer works near the incident near Finsbury Park Mosque where a van drove into pedestrians.   Carl Court, Getty Images>FullscreenOnlookers watch at the scene in Finsbury Park area
Onlookers watch at the scene in Finsbury Park area of north London after a vehicle hit pedestrians, June 19, 2017.   Tolga Akmen, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenMuslims pray on a sidewalk in the Finsbury Park area
Muslims pray on a sidewalk in the Finsbury Park area of north London after a vehicle hit pedestrians. One person has been arrested after a vehicle hit pedestrians in north London, injuring several people, police said, as Muslim leaders said worshippers were hit after leaving a mosque.   Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenPolice guard a street in the Finsbury Park area of
Police guard a street in the Finsbury Park area of north London.  Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenPolice guard a street in the Finsbury Park area of
Police guard a street in the Finsbury Park area of north London.  Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenAmbulances arrive in the Finsbury Park area of north
Ambulances arrive in the Finsbury Park area of north London.  Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenPolice guard a street in the Finsbury Park area of
Police guard a street in the Finsbury Park area of north London.  Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenMuslims pray on a sidewalk in the Finsbury Park area
Muslims pray on a sidewalk in the Finsbury Park area of north London.  Daniel Leal-Olivas, AFP/Getty Images>FullscreenA police cordon is in place near Finsbury Park.
A police cordon is in place near Finsbury Park.  Facundo Arrizabalaga, European Pressphoto Agency>FullscreenOnlookers gather by a police cordon near Finsbury Park.
Onlookers gather by a police cordon near Finsbury Park.  Facundo Arrizabalaga, European Pressphoto Agency>FullscreenOnlookers gather by a police cordon near Finsbury Park.
Onlookers gather by a police cordon near Finsbury Park.  Facundo Arrizabalaga, European Pressphoto Agency>Fullscreen

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    Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/06/19/imam-stepped-protect-suspect/103004052/

    'Do not touch him': Finsbury Park Mosque's imam stepped in to protect attacker from crowd
    'Do not touch him': Finsbury Park Mosque's imam stepped in to protect attacker from crowd
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