Community rallies to mark first anniversary of Finsbury Park terror attack with minute’s silence – one year after extremist ploughed van into crowds outside mosque and killed a father-of-six
- Minute’s silence has been held to commemorate death of Makram Ali and for dozen others who were injured
- Darren Osborne drove a hired van on to a crowded pavement, intending to kill as many Muslims as possible
- Britain’s values will not be broken by ‘vile extremism’, Theresa May has said ahead of one-year memorial
The first anniversary of the Finsbury Park terror attack was marked with a one minute’s silence today.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan stood together, one year after an extremist ploughed van into crowds outside a mosque in North London and killed a father-of-six.
Relatives of Mr Ali were invited to gather alongside others affected by Darren Osborne’s murderous rampage, when he drove a hired van on to a crowded pavement, intending to kill as many Muslims as possible.
Politicians stand behind a banner with the phrase #LondonUnited, which has been used after other terror attacks last year
Home Secretary Sajid Javid (left) and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attend the memorial event at Islington Town Hall today
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick also attended the minute’s silence at 9.30am at Islington Town Hall to commemorate the death of Makram Ali, and for the dozen others who were injured on June 19 last year.
Osborne named Mr Khan and Mr Corbyn during his nine-day trial at Woolwich Crown Court as people he had wanted to kill.
Mr Corbyn said at the memorial today: ‘I live just alongside where Makram lost his life and where this terrible event occurred, and we spent that night in the Muslim Welfare House and the mosque.
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‘The response from the emergency services, from the local authority and from the local community was absolutely magnificent. Magnificent in its immediate response to the crisis but also in its human element.’
He added: ‘The greatest answer to those that would seek to divide us by racism is to show that if we’re divided, we cannot achieve anything.
‘Divided communities blame each other for housing, blame each other for health, blame each other for schools, blame each other for everything else.
Mr Corbyn (centre) is watched by James Brokenshire (left), Sajid Javid (second left) and Sadiq Khan (right) as he speaks
Islington councillors, local faith and community leaders, and emergency services workers all attended today’s event
‘At the end of that whole blame game, absolutely nothing has been achieved – only division, hatred, which then goes on inter-generationally.
‘Our children understand that, and I was so proud of the response of all the children in the local schools who came together to say they wanted to be part of a multi-cultural, multi-faith community.’
Imam Mohammed Mahmoud, who protected Osborne from angry passers-by until police came to arrest him, was among those praised by Mr Corbyn.
To warm applause, Mr Corbyn said: “Imam Mahmoud did a brilliant and wonderful job of making sure that hatred of racism did not turn into violence and anger on the streets that night.
“He helped to ensure that we came together as a community because that is the only response there can ever be to the racism that seeks to divide us.”
There was a strong uniformed police presence in Upper Street, a usually busy shopping and business hub, which was shut to traffic for the intimate memorial.
Banners which read “United Against Terror,” “Turn To Love” and “London United” decorated the memorial scene which was attended by members of the community and local officials.
After speaking today, Mr Corbyn tweeted: ‘One year ago today, Makram Ali was killed and eight people were injured in the terrible Finsbury Park attack.
Mr Corbyn speaks at Islington Town Hall in London today to mark the one-year anniversary of the Finsbury Park attack
Emergency services staff treat victims after the vehicle hit pedestrians in Finsbury Park, North London, on June 19 last year
‘But the response of our community was to come together in solidarity and strength. We showed that we would not be divided or defeated and we never will be. ‘
Islington councillors, local faith and community leaders, and emergency services workers who helped victims in the aftermath of the attack also attended today’s commemorative event.
Father-of-six Makram Ali died as a result of multiple injuries
Ahead of the event, Prime Minister Theresa May said: ‘Last year’s cowardly attack which targeted innocent worshippers leaving Finsbury Park mosque is an attack on all of us.
‘As with all acts of terrorism the intention was to divide us but we will not let this happen.
‘We are a country of many faiths and freedom of worship and respect for those of different faiths is fundamental to this country’s values and these values will never be broken by vile extremism.’
Mrs May commended the ‘bravery and spirit of the community that apprehended the attacker’.
She added: ‘As we remember the victims of this attack, Makram Ali who tragically lost his life, we should take strength that it is London’s diversity and multitude of communities that makes it one of the world’s great cities.’
Mr Corbyn said: ‘A year on from the tragic attack outside Muslim Welfare House London in Finsbury Park, when a man filled with hate drove into a crowd of people after prayers, we remember the life that was lost and those still suffering from the aftermath – and the inspiring response of our community.
‘One man, Makram Ali, was killed and eight people were injured in this terrible attack that brought terror to our streets.
‘But the response of our community – people of all faiths and none – was to come together in solidarity and strength. We showed that we would not be divided or defeated and we never will be.
A van was driven into a group of Muslims outside two mosques at the junction of Seven Sisters Road and Whadcoat Street
Ruzina Akhtar, Mr Ali’s daughter, spoke on June 6 about her family’s gratitude for the support they have received
‘The response of the community in Finsbury Park is a model for us all: through supporting each other in solidarity, treating each other with respect and learning from each other, we can create a better, more peaceful and prosperous world.’
Jobless loner Darren Osborne, who had been radicalised by far-right material, is serving at least 43 years in prison
At a gathering earlier in June, Mr Ali’s daughter Ruzina Akhtar spoke of her family’s gratitude for the support they had received from the community since her father’s death.
Ms Akhtar addressed those gathered at a street Iftar on what was the one-year anniversary of the incident according to the lunar calendar observed in the Islamic faith.
She said: ‘We’re very happy to be part of this community and to be in this country with such a loving, diverse community around us.
‘And we would just like to thank everyone for their support and the love that they’ve shown and hope they continue to do so.’
Mr Khan described it as an ‘evil attack designed to divide us’.
He added: ‘Instead, the response from the local community, and Londoners more widely, was and remains an inspiration to us all. It proved once again that, when Londoners face adversity, we stand up for our values, we stay strong, and we remain united.’
The phrase #LondonUnited, which has been used in the wake of other terror attacks last year, was due to be displayed on the Muslim Welfare House yesterday evening and into the early hours of today, around the time Osborne committed his crime.
The jobless loner, who had been radicalised by far-right material, is serving a jail sentence of at least 43 years, after being found guilty in February of murder and attempted murder.
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