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Van ploughs through worshippers near London mosque

Van ploughs through worshippers near London mosque

A van ploughed through pedestrians leaving a mosque in north London in the early hours of Monday morning, killing one person and injuring eight.

The incident occurred around 00:20 near Finsbury Park Mosque.

"We have been informed that a van has run over worshippers as they left #FinsburyPark Mosque. Our prayers are with the victims," the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body, tweeted.

Police confirmed that there were "a number of casualties" at a scene they responded to where a vehicle is reported to have collided with pedestrians. They also confirmed that a 48-year-old male, believed to be the driver, was arrested after he was detained by members of the public at the scene.

The incident is being investigated by counter-terrorism officers.

The head of the MCB, Harun Khan, said that the vehicle "intentionally" ran over the pedestrians. They were leaving the mosque after attending night prayers for the holy month of Ramadan.

The mosque, situated near Seven Sisters Road, was once a hub for radical Islamists, but has since changed with the advent of new management.

Former imam Abu Hamza, who preached there from 1997 to 2003, was sentenced to life in prison in a New York court in 2015 on terrorism charges. He was jailed for inciting his listeners to violence before he was extradited to the United States.

Following the 2015 Paris attacks, Finsbury Park mosque was one of 20 mosques which participated in an open day organised by the MCB to foster a better understanding of Islam following the Islamist-inspired attacks.

A change in leadership at the mosque, however, was not enough to prevent it from receiving threatening emails and letters following the Paris attacks.

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