A Car Hitting People Outside London Islamic Centre Is Being Investigated for 'Hate Crime'
“We remain proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society and as such we remain unintimidated.”
A car has hit a group of people attending an Islamic centre in north London, in what police have said could have been a hate crime.
The incident, which happened at 12:35 a.m. on Wednesday at a Muslim prayer centre in Cricklewood, isn’t being treated as terrorist-related.
The Metropolitan Police said that comments of an Islamophobic nature were allegedly made in the minutes leading up to the incident, and that the “hate crime aspect of the collision is being looked at by detectives as an aggravating factor.”
Take action: Be the Generation to End Extreme Poverty
“We are in deep shock at such an attack taking place on our community,” said a spokesperson for the Hussaini Association, which was hosting an event at the centre on Edgware Road. “We remain proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society and as such we remain unintimidated.”
A group of three men and a woman in their 20s, who were allegedly behaving anti-socially in a private car park at the Al-majlis Al-Husseini centre, were asked to leave before the incident.
“The car then drove near the centre and the occupants were involved in a confrontation with a large group of people visiting the centre,” said the police statement.
Cricklewood mosque 'hate crime' crash: Three hurt as car 'swerves into crowd' leaving Muslim prayer centre https://t.co/e0sHuQjHzB— Telegraph News (@TelegraphNews) September 19, 2018
“Words were exchanged and comments of an Islamophobic nature were allegedly made by the group in the car,” it added.
“The car then reportedly sustained minor damage by some of those outside the centre,” said the statement. “It proceeded to make off at speed colliding with three individuals as it left.”
A man in his 50s is in hospital being treated for a serious leg injury, while two other men in their 20s had minor injuries.
Scotland Yard said that “officers are currently retaining an open mind regarding the cause of the collision.”
“We are treating this incident very seriously and a number of enquiries are underway to trace the car and those involved,” said Det Sgt Kelly Schonhage, from Brent CID. “Enquiries into the full circumstances of the collision are ongoing. If you were there at the time and have information, I would urge you to contact police with information.”
“Extra neighbourhood police patrols have been stepped up in the area and officers will be on hand to speak with those in the local community,” Schonhage added.
The police statement added: “The Met have long since recognised the impact of hate crime on communities and the hidden nature of this crime, which remains largely under-reported. The MPS stands together with policing partners, colleagues, and groups to investigate all hate crime allegations, support victims and their families, and bring perpetrators to justice.”
“We would appeal to anyone who witnesses or suffers any hate of any type to immediately report it so that action can quickly be taken and catch those responsible,” it said.
If you experience a hate crime, it can be reported through 999 in an emergency, or 101 in a non-emergency. It can also be reported at a police station, through the MOPAC Hate Crime app, and through community reporting methods such as Tell MAMA, Galop, or the CST.