Memorial event celebrates community spirit outside Finsbury Park Mosque

Memorial event celebrates community spirit outside Finsbury Park Mosque
1 / 4
Describing last year’s attack Labour's Jeremy Corbyn said: “It was murder on the streets of our community and our response was to come together." (AN Photo/Olivia Cuthbert)
Memorial event celebrates community spirit outside Finsbury Park Mosque
2 / 4
People attend a vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque in north London. (AN Photo/Olivia Cuthbert)
Memorial event celebrates community spirit outside Finsbury Park Mosque
3 / 4
People attend a vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque in north London. (AN Photo/Olivia Cuthbert)
Memorial event celebrates community spirit outside Finsbury Park Mosque
4 / 4
People attend a vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque in north London. (AN Photo/Olivia Cuthbert)
Updated 06 June 2018

Memorial event celebrates community spirit outside Finsbury Park Mosque

Memorial event celebrates community spirit outside Finsbury Park Mosque
  • Makram Ali, 51, was murdered outside the mosque on June 19, 2017
  • Darren Osborne drove a van into a group of worshippers, killing the father of one

LONDON: Politicians, including Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, joined faith leaders and members of the public outside Finsbury Park Mosque on Wednesday evening to mark the one-year anniversary of a brutal van attack that killed one man and injured eight others as they left Ramadan night prayers here this time last year.
Makram Ali, 51, was murdered outside the mosque on June 19, 2017 when Darren Osborne drove a van into a group of worshippers, killing the father of one.
Osborne was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year.

Describing last year’s attack Labour's Corbyn said: “It was murder on the streets of our community and our response was to come together.

“The racists will never win and we will never allow them to win.’’

He ended his brief address by saying: “Any good politician knows when to shut up and I will do that now,’’ before wishing everyone an enjoyable iftar.

Representatives from local mosques, churches and synagogues participated in the event, which was styled on a British summer street party mixed with a traditional iftar to highlight the public spirit demonstrated by the local community after the attack.

The organizers — Muslim Welfare House, Finsbury Park mosque and the charity Muslim Aid – aimed to celebrate “cohesion within the community” while commemorating the tragedy that took place here one year earlier.

“The response from the community has been phenomenal and shows those that seek divide us that the opposite has happened,” said Jehangir Malik, CEO of Muslim Aid.

Imam Mohamed Mahmoud said: "It was an attack against those who cherish the right to practise their religion freely and openly,’’ and an attempt to "tear us apart’’ that "failed epicly.’’

Conservative MP Anna Soubry emphasized the ‘’astonishing’’ contribution the community of just three million British Muslims makes to those in need during Ramadan, raising £100 million ($134 million) this year and expressed her concerns about the "growth of hate coming out of the EU referendum campaign."

"It has to stop,’’ she added.

Conservative MP Dominic Grieve said Westminster could learn from the "immense community participation’’ shown at events like this.

"We face many challenges in Britain,’’ he said, but "out there in the real world a lot of people are getting on with it.’’

Makram Ali’s daughter, Rozina Akhtar gave a tearful address thanking "everyone for the love and support they have shown us.’’ 

Haroun Khan, Muslim Council of Britain, who was here this time last year, said "we are all part and parcel of this country.’’

Speaking to Arab News as people gathered in the street for the event, which is expected to draw a crowd of around 1,500, he said that the rise in Islamophobia in Britain following a spate of extremist attacks in the UK last year had left some in Muslim communities feeling ‘’apprehensive and scared.”

“The most important thing is to come together, regardless of faith, creed, color or background and celebrate the bonds that unite or multicultural society.”

Osborne, 48, became radicalized after watching a BBC program called Three Girls based on the Rochdale grooming gangs that exploited and abused young girls.

In the weeks prior to the attack, he researched anti-Muslim material online, including posts by former leader of the English Defense League Tommy Robinson and far-right group Britain First.

Khalid Omar, secretary trustee of Finsbury Park Mosque told Arab News after the verdict in February that the incident “does highlight that there is extremism of different forms which need to be faced up to.

“We need to have a clearer plan in place on how we can make sure balanced views are heard and the voice of every community is included,” he said.

Imam Mohamed Mahmoud, from the Muslim Welfare House, said in a statement: ‘’Our primary concern has been for the victims and their families who continue to deal with the consequences of this terrible attack...we received outpourings of support from all over the world from people of all backgrounds who have the capacity to care for others whom they have had no contact with.’’

Mahmoud was celebrated for his conduct on the day of at the attack after protecting Osborne from shocked worshippers, and ensuring he was safely handed over to face justice.