Knifeman storms London mosque and ‘stabs man during call to prayer’
A knifeman stormed into Regents Park Mosque this afternoon and ‘stabbed a man in the neck’ while he was carrying out the call to prayer.
The stabbing took place while hundreds of worshipers were in the building, with Met Police saying they are not treating it as terror related.
The victim has been named by mosque-goers as 69-year-old Rafat Maqlad.
A 29-year-old man has been arrested and taken into custody at a central London police station.
Police say they were called to a mosque in Park Road, NW8, at 3.10pm to reports of a stabbing.
Pictures on social media show the man, wearing a red top, being pinned to the floor by police before officers lead him away.
A Met Police spokesperson said: ‘Police were called to a mosque in Park Road, NW8, at 15.10hrs on Thursday, 20 February, to reports of a stabbing.
‘Officers attended along with paramedics from the London Ambulance Service (LAS). A man was found with stab injuries.
‘He was treated by paramedics before being taken to hospital. We await an update on his condition.
‘A man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder.
Man arrested for attempted murder after mosque attack
‘A crime scene has been put in place.
‘Enquiries into the circumstances continue.’
A witness to the attack said the suspect had been a regular in the mosque, and had been seen at least six months ago.
Abi Watik, 59, said: ‘We were shocked we didn’t know what was happening.’
He said the victim had been stabbed once in the right shoulder moments after prayers had started, and he believed the suspect had waited for that moment.
He said: ‘It has just started and he was waiting for them to start.
‘He was praying behind him and then he stabbed him.
‘He (the suspect) was silent the whole time.’
Adnan Idha, 54, a regular worshipper at the mosque, said the suspect had been attending for around three months and had been seen with the victim in his office.
Mr Idha said: ‘He was close with the man who was stabbed, he would sit in his office with him.’
Ayaz Ahmad, adviser to the mosque, said: ‘Everybody’s reaction was shock and horror, the men were screaming.
‘It was a vicious attack. We live in a society where we hear a lot about knife crime and what have you but actually to physically be in a situation where you’re first-hand watching an attempted murder take place it’s very shocking.’
The force said officers continue to investigate the circumstances of the stabbing.
TellMAMA, a charity which records anti Muslim hate crimes, said: ‘We strongly condemn the non-life threatening attack on the Muezzin at Regent’s Park Mosque.
‘Tell MAMA is liaising with the police and the mosque, an arrest has been made.
‘We are reissuing our safety tips for individuals and mosques as a precaution. Please observe them.’
The London Ambulance Service (LAS) said the man stabbed at the mosque near Regent’s Park has been taken to a major trauma centre.
The service tweeted: ‘We sent an ambulance crew, a paramedic in a car and an advanced paramedic practitioner to this incident in Regent’s Park.
‘We treated a man at the scene and took him to a major trauma centre.’
The Prime Minister tweeted: ‘I’m deeply saddened to hear of the attack at the London Central Mosque. It’s so awful that this should happen, especially in a place of worship. My thoughts are with the victim and all those affected.’