Knifeman 'runs into Regent's Park Mosque and stabs worshipper in neck'
20 February 2020, 23:28 | Updated: 20 February 2020, 23:31
A man has reportedly been stabbed in the neck during the call to prayer in London Central Mosque.
A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder at the scene, and authorities have said the victim is not in a life-threatening condition.
Witnesses said on social media that the victim - aged in his seventies - was stabbed in his neck whilst trying to protect the Imam who the attacker initially targeted.
He was the Muazzin, who calls worshippers to prayer five times a day.
The stabbing is not being treated as terror-related.
Videos being shared across social media showing a white man in a red hoodie, black trousers and no shoes being arrested at the scene.
A knife can be seen under a plastic chair nearby.
It is thought the attacker had visited the mosque on multiple occasions before, and had been in the building for some time before carrying out his attack.
Speaking to LBC's Rachael Venables, Mustafa Fields said: "We understand by speaking to members who are part of the community, the local congregation, that the individual has been visiting the mosque over the last six months.
"He's not someone who's just, you know, this is not a random attack this there is some background to this. You know, people know him within the mosque.
Adnan Idha, 54, a regular worshipper at the mosque, said the attacker was close with the victim.
He said: "He was very close with the man who was stabbed, he would sit in his office with him.
"He was new, and I saw him in his (the victim's) office."
He said the attacker had joined the mosque around three months ago, and had seen him in the days before the incident at evening prayer.
"He seems to be very vulnerable. It could be potential mental health, but this has stopped a lot of fear in communities about this.
"Police were very rapid and responding they were within minutes and that's really important to see that the strong communication between police and that’s really important."
A statement from the Metropolitan Police 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.
"A crime scene has been put in place. Enquiries continue."
A statement from the London Central Mosque said: "There was an Incident today at London Central Mosque where an unknown individual attacked and stabbed the Muazzin (the person who makes the call to prayer) during Asr Prayer around 3pm.
"The attacker was apprehended by the worshippers until the Police arrived and arrested him.
"The Muazzin did not sustain any life threatening injuries but was seriously injured and is being treated at the Hospital.
"We will provide further updates as we await further information from the police regarding the incident, our thoughts and prayers are with the Muazzin and his family."
Shortly after news of the attack broke, Prime Minister Boris Johnson 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."
More to follow...
More to follow...