Finsbury Park mosque attack: JK Rowling slams 'victim blaming' press coverage

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One man has died after an attack on a Mosque in north London (Rex)
One man has died after an attack on a Mosque in north London (Rex)

JK Rowling has condemned press coverage of the Finsbury Park mosque attack that left one dead and injured 10 as “disgusting” victim blaming.

In the early hours the morning, a van driver mounted a pavement running down Muslim worshippers at prayers in north London.

The terrorist suspect, 48, who shouted “I’m going to kill all Muslims” before he was tackled to the floor according to witnesses, is now in police custody.

Rowling, the Harry Potter author, attacked the “usual newspapers” after elements of the press accused the place of worship as harbouring terrorists.

Linking to a article in the Islington Gazette, she noted that the Finsbury Park Mosque, on St Thomas’s Road, has been commended for tackling extremism.

In November 2014, it was given a Visible Quality Mark by national body Community Matters.

At the time, Jeremy Corbyn, who is MP for Islington North, congratulated the mosque’s achievements.

“Your hard work and good results that are so valuable within our community deserve this wider recognition,” he said.

“It can be tough for charities in this climate, yet despite that you have been able to demonstrate high standards in all areas across your organisation.”

MORE: Theresa May to hold emergency meeting as Sadiq Khan decries ‘horrific terrorist attack’ at Finsbury Park mosque The Telegraph
MORE: Witness describes Finsbury Park mosque attack

The religious site is where radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza had preached for more than a decade, and became known as a “haven” for extremists.

In 2003, it was raided by police and then shut down.

It was reopened in February 2005 with a new board of trustees supported by the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), who were tasked with stamping out extremism.

Hamza was the imam of Finsbury Park Mosque from 1997 until 2003, when he was expelled by the Charity Commission, having been suspended in 2002.

He was charged with 16 offences of inciting violence and racial hatred and was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in 2006.

In 2012, he was extradited to the US where was found guilty of 11 terrorism charges and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Abdulrahman Saleh Alamoudi, who was at mosque last night, said he was among a group of people helping an elderly worshipper who had fallen down, possibly due to the heat, when the van swerved towards them.

He told BuzzFeed News: “This big van just came and went all over us.

“I think at least eight or 10 people got injured. Luckily I managed to escape. And then the guy came out of his van and I got him.

“He was screaming, he was saying, ‘I’m going to kill all Muslims, I’m going to kill all Muslims’. He was throwing punches.

“Then we managed to get him on the floor. Then he was saying, ‘Kill me, kill me’.

“I said, ‘We are not going to kill you. Why did you do that?’ He wouldn’t say anything.”

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