Islamophobic Attack: Three hurt in London as car drives into Islamic crowd
London, September 19, 2018 (AltAfrica)-Detectives in London are investigating a suspected hate crime after three people were injured when a car drove into pedestrians outside an Islamic centre early today.
The car careered into a crowd leaving a lecture at the Al-Majlis Al-Hussaini Islamic centre in Cricklewood, north London, at around 12.35am.
Witnesses reported the occupants allegedly shouted “you dirty Muslims” as they swerved across the road hitting cars and lampposts before colliding with pedestrians.
The car – reported as a red Nissan by witnesses – sped off without stopping.
The Met said the occupants had been asked to leave the centre’s private car park by security at 12.20am today for reportedly behaving anti-socially, drinking and apparently using drugs.
There was then a confrontation between the three men and a woman in the car, all in their mid-20s, and a “large group” of people gathered outside.
A Met spokesman said: “Words were exchanged and comments of an Islamophobic nature were allegedly made by the group in the car.
“The car then reportedly sustained minor damage by some of those outside the centre. It proceeded to make off at speed colliding with three individuals as it left.”
The Hussaini Association, which had organised a lecture at the centre, described it as an “Islamophobic attack”, adding that the driver and passengers were heard “shouting anti-Islamic taunts at the crowd”.
It said the car was “hurtling down” the road and mounted the pavement before swerving into bystanders.
Hassan Naddi, head of security at the charitable organisation, said hundreds of people including women and children were leaving the event when the incident took place.
He told the Standard: “I felt absolutely helpless. You don’t understand how many women and children he just missed. People were ducking behind cars to hide.
“They were shouting ‘You dirty Muslims’ without a doubt it was an Islamophobic attack from the stuff they were screaming out of the windows.“
Anwar, a volunteer at the The Hussaini Association, said: “The car was going very fast way over the speed limit, it crashed into people and didn’t stop.
“A lot of us chased after them and helped get the injured out of the road. We were very scared and there was a lot of panic.”
Scotland Yard said they were not treating the event as terrorist related but said officers were investigating Islamic hate crime as an “aggravating factor”.
Detectives are analysing CCTV in a bid to trace the driver and are “keeping an open mind as to the cause of the collision.”
A spokesman for the Hussaini Association, which organises Islamic lectures at the centre, said: “We are in deep shock at such an attack taking place on our community but remain proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society.”
Kelly Schonhage from Brent CID said: “We are treating this incident very seriously and a number of inquiries are under way to trace the car and those involved.
“Inquiries into the full circumstances of the collision are ongoing. If you were there at the time and have information I would urge you to contact police with information.
“Extra neighbourhood police patrols have been stepped up in the area and officers will be on hand to speak with those in the local community.”