LONDON (Reuters) - Senior British political figures joined faith and community leaders on Tuesday to commemorate the anniversary of an attack by a far-right extremist who drove a van into Muslim worshippers leaving a London mosque.
Darren Osborne, 48, ploughed his rental van into a crowd leaving Ramadan prayers in Finsbury Park, north London, in the early hours of June 19 last year, killing 51-year-old father of four Makram Ali and injuring 12 others, two seriously.
Authorities said it was the fourth deadly terrorism incident in Britain last year, following three Islamist attacks which killed 35 people.
On Tuesday, the British capital’s mayor Sadiq Khan was joined by the opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and interior minister Sajid Javid and figures from the local community for a minute’s silence outside Islington Town Hall.
“It’s a time to support and pray for the victims,” said Toufik Kacimi, the chief executive of the Muslim Welfare House whose worshippers were targeted in the attack.
“It’s also a time to reflect on the outstanding response from the community. We believe the terrorists will never win and this is shared by the British people of this country as seen by their messages of peace, love and tranquility.”
Osborne, who was jailed for at least 43 years in February, had become obsessed with Muslims after watching a BBC TV drama about a child sex abuse scandal involving British Pakistani men.
He told his trial he had initially wanted to kill Corbyn and Khan, a Muslim, at a march in central London but had been thwarted by road closures.
“Last year’s cowardly attack which targeted innocent worshippers leaving Finsbury Park Mosque was an attack on all of us,” Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement. “As with all acts of terrorism, the intention was to divide us. But we will not let this happen.”
Reporting by Anu Shukla; editing by Michael Holden and Guy Faulconbridge