UK: Muslim worhipper stabbed during prayers forgives his attacker
23rd Feb 2020
By Ahmed J Versi
London, (The Muslim News): A Muslim worshipper who was stabbed in the neck during late afternoon (Asr) prayers, on Thursday, has forgiven his attacker. Raafat Maglad who is in his 70s was taken to hospital for treatment to stab injuries, victim had suffered a 1.5cm wound to his neck. He was later discharged following treatment.
29-year-old Daniel Horton of no fixed abode has been charged with grievous bodily harm. He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Saturday. He was remanded in custody by District Judge Nina Tempia to appear at Southwark Crown Court on 20 March.
The Metropolitan Police said it was not treating the unprovoked knife attack as terror-related.
The attack on Muaddin (one who calls people to prayer) took place at Regent’s Park Mosque in London.
Maglad forgave his attacker. At a press conference he told reporters: “I forgive him. I feel very sorry for him.”
“What is done is done, he is not going to return.
“As a Muslim I didn’t put any hatred in my heart. What is done is done.
“He is a human being and this is my faith. What happened to me is my faith,” he said.
Maglad, who is originally from Sudan, described what had happened: “We were praying and I just felt somebody hit me from behind. He didn’t say anything. I just felt blood flowing from my neck and that’s it, they rushed me to the hospital. Everything happened all of a sudden.”
A video posted on social media showed a white man in a red-hooded top and jeans being pinned to the floor in the mosque by police, who were arresting him.
“A 29-year-old man, who is believed to have been attending prayers, was arrested inside the mosque on suspicion of attempted murder. He has been taken into custody at a central London police station. The incident is not being treated as terror-related at this time,” the Metropolitan Police had said in a statement Friday.
The Met’s Chief Superintendent for the central-west borough, Helen Harper, said: “I would like to thank everybody in the mosque who helped to detain the man before he was arrested and continue to help my officers with their inquiries. I’m extremely relieved the injuries suffered by the victim do not appear to be life-threatening.”
“However, this incident has undoubtedly caused a great deal of concern, and we are working as swiftly as possible to establish the circumstances. No other suspects are being sought at this time.”
There were conflicting reports as to whether the attacker was known in the mosque or not. Some worshippers said they had seen him before and others not.
A Spokesman of the mosque told The Muslim News the attacker was not “a regular” to the mosque” and that he may have spoken to Maglad once or twice in the past.
In a statement, the mosque said: “There was an incident today at London Central Mosque where an unknown individual attacked and stabbed the muezzin during Asr prayer around 3 p.m.”
“The attacker was apprehended by the worshippers until the police arrived and arrested him. The muezzin did not sustain any life-threatening injuries but was seriously injured and is being treated at the hospital.
“We await further information from the police regarding the incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the muezzin and his family.”
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan in several tweets that every Londoner “is entitled to feel safe in their place of worship, and I want to reassure London’s communities that acts of violence in our city simply will not be tolerated. As Mayor, I’ll continue to protect all Londoners’ right to practise their faith freely & safely, but Govt need to act quickly to provide the funds & reassurance London’s faith communities deserve. I’ve written to the Home Secretary to share my concerns. Places of worship should be sanctuaries – a safe haven.
“No-one should be scared to attend mosques, churches, synagogues or temples. I’ll be showing my solidarity with Muslim Londoners by praying at London Central Mosque today.I’m deeply concerned by this incident at London Central Mosque. Every Londoner is entitled to feel safe in their place of worship & I want to reassure London’s communities that acts of violence in our city will not be tolerated. The Met are providing extra resources in the area.”
Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “We condemn this attack. Our thoughts and prayers are with the muezzin and those at London Central Mosque, its leaders and congregants.”
“It is deeply distressing to hear of an attack of this nature, with worshippers being targeted in a mosque, a place of spiritual sanctuary.
“Regardless of the motive of the attacker, we must remain calm but vigilant, as we aim to balance the importance of retaining mosques as open spaces and the security of worshippers. In this light, we will be reissuing our safety advice to mosques across the country.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson posted a brief statement on the incident on Twitter.
“I’m deeply saddened to hear of the attack at the London Central Mosque. It’s so awful that this should happen, especially in a place of worship. My thoughts are with the victim and all those affected.
”Regent’s Park Mosque is one of the largest in the U.K., with 6,000 Muslims a week praying there.