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Finsbury Park terror attack: Two weeks on, victims ask ‘why do people preach hate against us?’

PUBLISHED: 16:09 03 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:20 03 July 2017

Shah Islam, spokesperson for the 12 victims of the Finsbury Park terror attack and their families, speaks at the Finsbury Park Mosque 'service of hope'. Picture: Polly Hancock

Shah Islam, spokesperson for the 12 victims of the Finsbury Park terror attack and their families, speaks at the Finsbury Park Mosque 'service of hope'. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Victims of the Finsbury Park terror attack this afternoon asked: “Why do people preach hate against us?”

Finsbury Park Mosque 'service of hope': Mohammed Kozbar speaks on the two-week anniversary of the terror attack. Picture: Polly HancockFinsbury Park Mosque 'service of hope': Mohammed Kozbar speaks on the two-week anniversary of the terror attack. Picture: Polly Hancock

Finsbury Park Mosque, just around the corner from where the van attack happened in Seven Sisters Road two weeks ago today, held a “service of hope” in honour of Makram Ali – the 51-year-old Haringey man who died – and 11 fellow Muslims who were injured.

Shah Islam, spokesperson for the victims and their families, said: “A family lost a husband, a father, a brother, a grandfather. This was a heinous act of terrorism. These victims had been praying at a mosque [nearby Muslim Welfare House]. They had no hatred towards anyone. They were people who looked after their families.

“As victims, we hold no grudges, not even to the misguided attacker. We therefore ask why do people preach hate against us?”

The service was attended by 150 Muslims and community leaders, including Islington North MP and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Security was tight, with a dozen cops stationed outside the mosque and bag searches on the door.

Mohammed Kozbar is the chairman who cleaned up the St Thomas’s Road mosque after Abu Hamza and his extremist cronies were ousted in 2005. Mr Kozbar used the service to focus on stellar community work done by his mosque and Muslim Welfare House, such as feeding the homeless and helping refugees.

Jeremy Corbyn at the Finsbury Park Mosque 'service of hope'. Picture: Polly HancockJeremy Corbyn at the Finsbury Park Mosque 'service of hope'. Picture: Polly Hancock

“We offer a variety of services contributing to our British society,” he said. “We are motivated by our faith in Islam.

“Terrorism has no religion. We acknowledge acts of terror have been committed by Muslims, but they don’t represent us any more than the killer of our brother represented British values.”

Mr Corbyn, who was praised by moderator Ragad Altikriti for “always being there” as constituency MP, added: “I’ve just come from Pakeman School [in nearby Hornsey Road] where they held a peace walk. The children were joyful. And do you know what they said to me? They said: ‘Sir, it was really good that everyone welcomed us’.

“Two weeks ago, this attack engendered fear in our community. We lost Makram Ali and others suffered grievous injuries. It was an attack to divide us – but it will never work.”

Darren Osborne, 47, has been charged with murder and attempted murder. He will appear at the Old Bailey on July 20.


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