Death threats and hate mail for mosque near site of van attack

Updated: 

A mosque has received death threats and racist hate mail in the wake of the Finsbury Park terror attack.

Makram Ali, 51, was killed and nine other people were injured when a van ploughed into a crowded pavement in north London.

The area was busy with Muslim worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers at the time.

One anonymous letter to the nearby Finsbury Park mosque, seen by Vice News, said: "The attack using the van was only the beginning.

"The fun will continue this August. There will be rivers of blood flowing down the streets, I will make sure of this. None of you vermin will survive.

"I mean who would survive being gassed, or beheaded, or blown up."

Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the mosque, said there has been a rise in Islamophobic incidents since the attack on June 19.

"After the attack we received a lot of solidarity and support from friends and people in the community but also some nasty and offensive messages," he added.

"It's threats to the mosque and to the community and it's quite nasty threats.

"It's worrying for the safety of our community, we're in talks with the police to see what measures and actions have to be taken to keep us safe.

"I'm sure something more can be done in terms of what's happening for safety and protection."

He added: "There has been a rise and it's worrying, the numbers are up 70%."

Another message demanded the mosque pay for damages to the van that mowed down victims, Vice reported.

The postcard read: "(The driver) was not insured unfortunately and in these times of austerity we all need as much cash as possible."

Mr Kozbar said worshippers have been individually targeted, especially women, and added: "They are visible and the most vulnerable and more affected.

"Some of them can't use public transport and can't go out at night.

"This is worrying for our community, we're living in the UK which is a very advanced country and safe and it's unfortunate some people have had such horrible experiences."

Darren Osborne has appeared in court accused of murder and attempted murder over the incident.

The 47-year-old, from Cardiff, is charged with killing Mr Ali and the attempted murder of others at the scene.

The Met Police says it has been working with the mosque since the attack and has increased the number of specialist hate crime officers across London.

Stuart Ryan, acting commander for Islington and Camden, said: "The mosque has reported a number of incidents of hate crimes since the attack and we are working hard to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

"Over the last few weeks, more police officers have been patrolling London and reassuring those who attend places of worship.

"They are also there to encourage anyone affected to report any incidents of hate crime, including Islamophobia, to police."

He added: "The Met 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 who are responsible."