Brave imam who stopped angry crowds taking revenge on Finsbury Park attacker receives top faith award

David Harding
Hero: Imam Mohammed Mahmoud (Rex)

An imam who stopped crowds from taking their revenge on the Finsbury Park attacker has been honoured with a major award.

Mohammed Mahmoud has received the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation after he intervened to prevent anyone attacking Darren Osborne.

The Welshman had ploughed his rented van into Muslim worshippers close to Finsbury Park mosque, killing one man, Makram Ali, and injuring 12 people in June 2017.

In February, the father of four was jailed for at least 43 years for the murderous attack.

During Osborne’s trial his actions were contrasted to those of Mohammed Mahmoud, who somehow managed to stop the gathered crowd from attacking Osborne.

‘This was a demonstration of true leadership. His behaviour throws into sharp relief the bile spewed out online from those who aspire to lead the haters,’ said Mrs Justice Cheem-Grubb.

‘Not because his exhortation to desist from punishing the perpetrator was remarkable but because he had the strength of character to do the right thing under pressure. He chose to respond to evil with good.’


Floral tributes laid in the aftermath of the attack (Rex)

The imam has received wide praise for his actions in the moments after the deadly attack.

As tempers rose in the immediate aftermath, at least one man managed to punch Osborne. But amid the clamour, Mahmoud shouted out: ‘No one touch him – no one! No one!’

He then quickly flagged down police officers.

Last December, he told the Guardian he acted because ‘ the situation could get out of control.’

He has been described as a ‘hero imam’.

Darren Osborne, who was sentenced to at least 43 years for the attack (Rex)

Reflecting on his actions, he said: ‘It’s almost a back-handed compliment when they say ‘hero imam’. The norm is that Muslims would have lynched this guy and killed him? No, the norm is to do what I did.’

The prestigious Hubert Walter award is named after a 12th century Archbishop of Canterbury.

Mahmoud received his award from the current Archbishop, Justin Welby, at Lambeth Palace.