Monday June 19, 2017
Suspected London mosque attacker laughed and smiled as police arrested him, witness says
more stories from this episode
- Suspected London mosque attacker laughed and smiled as police arrested him, witness says
- Audience member 'baffled' as protester crashes N.Y. production of Julius Caesar
- How one survivor escaped Portugal's 'fiery tornado' unscathed thanks to the kindness of strangers
- 'There must be something in the water': 30 babies born in 1 year in tiny Irish village
- The story behind that Connecticut deli math sign
- June 19, 2017 episode transcript
- Full Episode
When Ahmed Abubakar arrived at London's Finsbury Park mosque after Ramadan prayers early Monday morning, he found his uncle bleeding from the head while a man pinned to the ground nearby was screaming that he would "kill all Muslims."
"I saw my uncle, who I was just with him about five minutes before that, and he was already bleeding. I went to him," Abubakar told As It Happens host Carol Off.
"He was really shocked and he didn't know anything. I said to him, 'Are you OK? Are you OK?' He said, 'Yes, I'm OK, I'm OK. What happened?'"
- Quebec mosque has words of support for Muslims in London
- Hate crimes against Muslims in Canada up 60%
Just minutes before, a van had plowed into a group of pedestrians outside the mosque, where a large crowd of worshippers had just finished Ramadan prayers.
When the driver, whom witnesses described as a middle-aged white man, emerged from the van, onlookers tackled him to the ground and held him there until police arrived.
Police have since identified the accused as 47-year-old Darren Osborne, and charged him with attempted murder and terrorism.
Abubakar cradled his wounded uncle until his brother showed up at the scene. He then left his uncle in his brother's care, then went to see what else he could do to help.
One man was trapped underneath the van and Abubakar and several others lifted it up to rescue him.
He said the driver, meanwhile, was flailing, kicking and screaming: "I will kill you, all of you Muslims!"
"Some angry young boys came. They tried like to kick or something, and we were trying to protect him because there were kicks coming from every corner. We were saying, 'Just leave him. Leave him now. He is on the floor. The police are on the way. They will deal with it,'" Abubakar said.
"And then, when the police came, suddenly he changed into a happy man."
Abubakar said the driver laughed and smiled as officers cuffed him and put him into the back of a police van.
It took 20 minutes for the police to show up, Abubakar said, and the ambulance came even later than that.
In the meantime, he said there were hundreds of people gathered in the area, doing what they could to attend to the injured.
At least eight people were hurt in the attack, and one man died at the scene, though it's not yet clear whether his death was the result of the crash.
Abubakar's uncle suffered a cracked skull, but he is expected to live. Abubakar said he saw another man with a broken back, unable to move.
The events have had a detrimental effect on Finsbury Park, a neighbourhood Abubakar said has "all the people from different colours living next to each other in [a] peaceful way."
"And now, people were a bit scared and saying, 'We don't think we can come to the mosque,'" he said. "You know, anything could happen. We don't feel that we are safe."
London is also reeling in the aftermath of a highrise apartment fire last week that left at least 79 people dead or missing.
"The world is just becoming crazy nowaways," Abubakar said. "I hope the world will just come together because terrorism, it hasn't got any religion or anything. We just need to be together and then we can be strong and go forward."
- AS IT HAPPENS: People leapt as a 'wall of fire' engulfed a London highrise
- AS IT HAPPENS: Londoner returns to attack scene to pay his restaurant bill
- AS IT HAPPENS: Manchester cabbies gave free rides all night after deadly blast