Pedestrians ‘mown down’ by car in ‘anti-Muslim attack’ outside mosque

John Stillwell  PA via AP

John Stillwell PA via AP

Three people were rushed to hospital after the hit-and-run, which took place shortly after midnight today.

British police have launched an investigation after three people were injured in a collision near a Muslim community center in northwest London, a statement said Wednesday morning.

"Police have established that at approximately 12:20 a.m. security at the community center were informed of occupants in a auto behaving anti-socially, drinking and allegedly using drugs", according to the police. Three men and a woman in their mid-twenties allegedly refused to leave when security officials arrived and a confrontation ensued, police said.

Occupants of the auto, inside a private vehicle park at the Islamic centre, were told to leave by security for anti-social behaviour, drinking and apparently using drugs, police said.

According to the statement released by the Metropolitan Police, a auto collided with a number of pedestrians just after midnight on September 19, after Islamophobic insults were directed at the crowd by the occupants of the vehicle.

It is not being treated as terror-related, the Met said.

It is not being treated as terror-related, they added.

Police have made an appeal for witnesses to come forward with more information.

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The vehicle approached the centre where a confrontation broke out and some of those outside the centre caused minor damage to the auto. They have also stepped up neighborhood patrols in the area.

"It is being dealt with as an Islamophobic hate crime and it is being dealt with as a racist hate crime", Simon Rose, the Metropolitan Police chief superintendent, said.

Before the attack a group of three men and a woman in their mid 20s were asked to leave a private auto park at the premises, police said.

The Hussaini Association, which had been hosting a 10-day lecture series at the Islamic center, said in a statement that the annual event will continue on as scheduled.

"We are in deep shock at such an attack taking place on our community but remain proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society and as such we remain unintimidated", the statement said.

The incident occurred as the Muslim worshippers prepared for Ashura, an important Islamic festival of remembrance that begins on September 20.

Miqdad Versi, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, tweeted on Wednesday in praise of Ali Mashkour who pulled a child out of car's path as it swerved towards the crowd. "Brent is the most diverse constituency in the United Kingdom and our diversity is our strength". Law enforcement has ruled out terrorism, but suspect it was a "hate crime".

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