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August 13, 2007
London imam seriously injured in brutal attack
One of the imams of the London’s Central Mosque is in serious condition in hospital following a brutal attack by a white man of Irish origin, the Muslim News has exclusively learnt.
A police spokesman told The Muslim News that a 40-year old man had been arrested and charged with grievous bodily harm and assault. The spokesman said that he was not charged with a racially aggravated offence, but the Director General of the mosque, Dr Ahmad Al-Dubayan, suspected that the attack was religiously motivated in the current atmosphere of growing hostility against Muslims.
He accused the media of creating “an atmosphere of Islamophobia” that led to this and other attacks on mosques.
The Muslim Council of Britain also said it is the latest example in a string of anti-Islamic crimes in Britain. "There is clearly a growing anti-Muslim climate in this country and it has some very worrying implications for all of us,” an MCB spokesman warned.
Dr Al-Dubayan said that the 58-year old imam, who did not want to be named, was attacked on Friday morning after the man, who was wearing a cross, entered the mosque claiming that he wanted to be converted to Islam. The imam offered him dates and explained to him about Islam and suddenly the man threw himself on the ground and began saying something the imam did not understand. Then he suddenly got up and began punching the imam on his forehead until the imam fell on the floor. The man then stood on top of the imam and began poking into the eyes of the imam with his fingers, damaging them badly. The imam tried to defend himself but could not free himself. The imam began shouting and the security came and called the police. The man was apprehended after much difficulty as he resisted the arrest.
The violent assault comes after an increase in attacks against Muslims and mosques since the recent failed car bombings in London and at Glasgow airport.
The Muslim News editor Ahmed Versi called on the Government and the police to ensure that Muslims and their places of worship are protected in the current hostile climate. “Such Islamophobic attacks should not be tolerated. There are causing further alienation in the community and add to the dangers of radicalizing young people.” Versi warned.
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