A few hero stories are emerging after a man tragically drove a van into a crowd of Muslims and patrons in the Finsbury Park area of London on Sunday night, leaving one dead and at least 10 injured.
The horrific event, which police are investigating as a terror attack, unfolded just after midnight when Ramadan prayers finished. The accused perpetrator is a 48-year-old white male, with authorities saying that he was targeting Muslims, CNN reported.
After running the van through the crowd, he was reportedly wrestled to the ground by members of the public until police could arrive at the scene and arrest him. But that wasn’t the only act that some are praising as heroic.
After the driver of the van — who reportedly yelled “I want to kill all Muslims” or “I’m going to kill all Muslims” — was taken down, Mohammed Mahmoud, 30, a local imam, reportedly helped form a protective ring around the accused, telling the angry crowd, “Do not touch him,” according to the Evening Standard.
Local muslims are said to have helped hold the man down as well. Mahmoud confirmed many of these details in an interview with Sky News, explaining that he arrived minutes after the accident to find the alleged perpetrator restrained on the ground. It was then that he said “some tried to kill him with kicks or punches.”
“Some tried to hit him, either kicks or punches,” Mahmoud told the Guardian. “By God’s grace we manage to surround him and to protect him from any harm.”
Watch footage from the scene below (caution: adult themes and language):
It was an act that Toufik Kacimi, head of the Muslim Welfare House, a local house of worship, said “helped calm the immediate situation after the incident and prevented further injuries and potential loss of life.”
Mahmoud’s goal, according to at least one source who spoke with the Evening Standard, was to see the man be brought to justice.