A senior Muslim police officer has lead condemnation by UK Islamic groups of the latest London terror attack, saying they were ready to act with the authorities to defeat extremism.
A Metropolitan Police commander in West London, Mak Chishty, read out a statement with representatives of various Muslim groups, describing Saturday’s deaths in central London as “an attack on all communities, including Muslim communities”.
At least seven people died and almost 50 were injured when three attackers drove into crowds in central London before going on a stabbing spree. Police later shot the three assailants dead.
Monday’s statement said “every time a terrorist attack takes place Muslim communities either face or fear a backlash against them”.
“The Muslim community appeals to all sections within their own communities to root out the scourge of terrorism which hides amongst their own people and masquerades as Islam,” Chishty added.
Monday’s statement also said the community was alarmed that the latest attack would have “required planning and yet was not reported”.
“It is the Islamic duty of every Muslim to be loyal to the country in which they live and we are now asking questions — to understand how extremism and hatred has taken hold within some elements of our own communities,” the statement added.
“Terrorism and extremism is hurting Islam. Muslims must do more to stop such attacks from happening again and we want to know how we can play a greater role in the future,” it said.
London mayor Sadiq Khan earlier slammed the terrorists, calling Saturday’s attack “cowardly and evil.” Visiting the scene of the attack, Khan said he was “furious” that the killers had used religion to justify their actions.
“I’m angry, and I’m furious that these three men are seeking to justify their actions by using the faith that I belong to,” Khan said.
He said: “The ideology they follow is perverse, and is poisonous and it has no place in Islam. I condemn this terrorist act but also the poisonous ideology these men and others follow.”
Meanwhile, TellMAMA — an NGO recording anti-Muslim attacks in the U.K. — said they had reported to the authorities a video being circulated “showing a man with what seems to be a hand grenade with a machete, who has been making threats against members of Muslim communities”.
Merseyside Police later said two individuals had been arrested for online threats made against Muslims.
Two 39-year-old men were “arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred and have been taken to a police station for questioning,” for two separate videos, police said.