Theresa May slams 'sickening' terror attack on Muslims, vows to tackle all forms of extremism

Theresa May slams 'sickening' terror attack on Muslims, vows to tackle all forms of extremism
The British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to tackle extremism in all its forms on Monday, in a speech addressing a terror attack targeting Muslims outside a mosque in London.
2 min read
19 June, 2017
The British PM addressed the terror attack outside Downing Street on Monday [Getty]

British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to fight terrorism and extremism "whoever is responsible" after a white driver ploughed through a crowd of Muslim worshippers near a London mosque on Monday, in what has been described as a terror attack.

Speaking outside her Downing Street residence, May said the attack was "a reminder that terrorism, extremism and hatred take many forms and our determination to tackle them must be the same, whoever is responsible".

"It was an attack that targeted the ordinary and the innocent," the prime minister said.

"Like all terrorism, in whatever form, it shares the same goal: to drive us apart. We will not let this happen.

"There has been far too much tolerance of extremism in this country," May added. "That's extremism of any kind — including Islamophobia".

May confirmed the deployment of extra police sources to reassure communities and notes plans to establish a “new Commission for Countering Extremism as a statutory body to help fight hatred and extremism”.

Early on Monday, one man was killed and ten others injured after a van ploughed into pedestrians near a London mosque.

A police statement confirmed all the victims of the attack were identified as Muslims who were visiting the mosque for Taraweeh prayers during the fasting month of Ramadan. 

The male driver of the van had also been taken to hospital as a precaution and would receive a mental health assessment, the police said.

The 48-year-old driver was detained by members of the public before police arrived on the scene shortly after the attack.

Muslim leaders said worshippers were specifically targeted after leaving prayers near Finsbury Park mosque in north London shortly after midnight, and linked the incident to a recent rise in anti-Muslim hate crime.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella body for British Muslims, said the incident occurred outside the Muslim Welfare House on Seven Sisters Road.

"Over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia and this is the most violent manifestation to date," MCB head Harun Khan said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the incident was a "horrific terrorist attack," calling it "deliberate" and aimed at "innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan".