A prayer leader was stabbed in the neck after courageously stepping in to save the Imam from a knife attacker at the Regent’s Park mosque this afternoon.
In a video posted on Twitter by the Mend Community charity, Shaykh Ashiqur Rahman, the Imam’s brother, said it was the Muezzin – prayer leader – stepped in and “saved his life”.
He claimed the attacker had previously been at the mosque and was “pretending to be a convert muslim” and had been seen laughing during sermons, before today’s “vicious attack”.
Another witness, Abi Watik, has told reporters the suspect had been a regular in the mosque, and had been seen at least six months ago.
Mr Watik, 59, said: “We were shocked we didn’t know what was happening.”
He said the victim had been stabbed once in the right shoulder moments after prayers had started, and he believed the suspect had waited for that moment.
He said: “It has just started and he was waiting for them to start.
“He was praying behind him and then he stabbed him.
When asked if there was any security at the mosque, he said no.
“This is the mosque, you can never stop anybody, everyone comes to the mosque.”
The incident unfolded during the call to prayer.
In a video message posted on Twitter, the eye-witness said: “The Imam, before he led the Salat (Muslim prayer), all of a sudden this racist, terrorist person came and stabbed him on his neck,” reports the Sun.
He adds: “He was actually going for the Imam, to stab the Imam, but the Muezzin was trying to protect. And then he got stabbed in the neck.
“This is a very, very scary scenario.”
The stabbing inside the London Central Mosque is “not being treated as terror related at this time”, Scotland Yard has said.
The London Ambulance Service said the injured man has been taken to a major trauma centre for treatment.
They tweeted: “We sent an ambulance crew, a paramedic in a car and an advanced paramedic practitioner to this incident in Regent’s Park.
“We treated a man at the scene and took him to a major trauma centre.”
He was taken to hospital by paramedics where his condition is described as non-life threatening, the Met said.
A crime scene has been put in place at the front of the mosque.
Police arrived soon after the incident and arrested the man on suspicion of attempted murder.
A Met Police spokesperson said: “Police were called to a mosque in Park Road, NW8, at 15.10hrs on Thursday, 20 February, to reports of a stabbing.
“Officers attended along with paramedics from the London Ambulance Service (LAS). A man was found with stab injuries.