Community gathers to remember Finsbury Park terror attack

The daughter of a father-of-six killed in the Finsbury Park attack has thanked those who supported her family in the year since the tragedy.

Some of those who were injured when Darren Osborne rammed a van onto a crowded pavement shortly after midnight on June 19 last year gathered in commemoration near the scene of the attack.

Faith leaders joined the area's MP Jeremy Corbyn, former attorney general Dominic Grieve and his Conservative Party colleague Anna Soubry at the event which also sought to celebrate the community spirit which emerged in the wake of the atrocity.

Jobless loner Osborne deliberately targeted Muslims who had gathered outside two mosques in the area during the holy month of Ramadan.

Makram Ali was killed in the incident in north London which left 12 others injured.

Ruzina Akhtar (centre) daughter of Makram Ali, who was killed in the attack, makes a speech
Ruzina Akhtar (centre) daughter of Makram Ali, who was killed in the attack, makes a speech (Rick Findler/PA)

Osborne was jailed for at least 43 years in February for what the judge described as a "suicide mission" terror attack.

Wednesday's gathering, organised by the Muslim Welfare House, Finsbury Park Mosque and the charity Muslim Aid, was held to mark one year since the incident, according to the lunar calendar observed in the Islamic faith.

Among the speakers were Ruzina Akhtar, daughter of 51-year-old Mr Ali, who said her family remains grateful for the community's support following her father's murder.

With her voice breaking, she said: "I've been asked to say a few words but I'm overwhelmed today a little bit.

"Although last year was a very tragic event for our family that took our beloved father from us, we would like to remember the positives that came out from those days with the community showing love and support.

"Also everyone that was around us. We're very happy to be part of this community and to be in this country with such a loving, diverse community around us.

"And we would just like to thank everyone for their support and the love that they've shown and hope they continue to do so.

"And please just keep us in your duas (prayers)."

Hundreds sit and eat during the gathering
Hundreds sit and eat during the gathering (Rick Findler/PA)

The event, which saw St Thomas's Road lined with colourful bunting, aimed to combine a British summer street party with a traditional Iftar - the meal eaten to break the daily fast observed by Muslims during Ramadan.

Recalling Osborne's rampage and the community's reaction, Mr Corbyn said: "It was murder on the streets of our community, and our response was to come together as a community, to come together of all faiths, and come together and show we will not be divided, we will not be defeated, the racists will never win, we will never allow them to win."

Bashir Ibrahim, whose brother Abdirahman was injured in the attack, said he felt the attack was one that was "waiting to happen" amid an environment of Islamophobia.

Speaking ahead of the event he added that victims were still feeling the effects, a year on.

He said: "Most of the victims are still suffering with the consequences today.

"My brother has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he has trouble sleeping.

Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn joins supporters to celebrate community spirit one year after the Finsbury Park terror attack
Jeremy Corbyn joins supporters to celebrate community spirit one year after the Finsbury Park terror attack (Rick Findler/PA)

"My brother was one of the most outgoing and bubbly people but straight after the attack there was a change."

Yassin Hersi, who was hit by Osborne's van as he tried to help Mr Ali while he lay on the ground, thanked those in attendance for such a "beautiful" event.

He said: "All faith groups are here tonight. We should be really more stronger together and more united as a community."

At sunset, just after 9pm, Mr Corbyn joined those gathered for a feast as crowds sat in the street to enjoy the breaking of their fast.

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