A woman who was attacked at Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park has said she believes her attacker was trying to “kill” her.
Hatun Tash, 39, a regular at the open-air spot where people speak openly and debate in front of crowds, was left with a slash injury to her head following the incident at 3.34pm on Sunday.
She was taken to a London hospital for treatment to her injuries and has now been discharged – but she says video footage made it “clear” that the attacker’s intentions were deadly.
After viewing the footage, she said: “The intention is clearly to kill me.
“I can’t believe this has happened in broad daylight at Speakers’ Corner. You do not expect such things to happen in Great Britain.”
Tash, an ex-Muslim who has converted to Christianity, was wearing a T-shirt of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo at the time of the attack.
Twelve people were killed at the magazine's offices by Islamic terrorists in January 2015 after the magazine published a series of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed several years previously.
Tash said she was at Speakers' Corner “to debate discuss and to tell people about Jesus Christ”.
She added: “I am upset and disturbed by what has happened to me. I am asking myself if have done anything wrong? I am convinced I have not broken any law or incited hate…
“It is a shame that this has happened at the home of freedom of speech.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Tash, said: "Speakers’ Corner is the embodiment of freedom, that is unlike any other place in the world.
“Our freedom is hanging by a thread – if Hatun is silenced by violence at Speakers’ Corner, then we are all silenced.”
Footage shared on social media of the attack showed Tash clutching her right hand close to her body and with what appeared to be blood at her temple as she was helped into a police van by officers who were nearby.
Counter-terrorism officers are leading the investigation but the Metropolitan Police said the incident “is not being treated as terrorism-related at this time” and police are keeping an open mind about possible motives.
No arrests have been made and a knife was found near the scene of the attack.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police via 101 or @MetCC quoting reference Cad 4376/25Jul. Alternatively, to remain anonymous, witnesses can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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