“An attack on one religion is an attack on all religions and all people and faiths must stand together against terror.”
Several Jewish groups extended their condolences and issued condemnations on Monday after a van plowed into a group of worshippers leaving a London mosque in the early hours of the day.
At least 10 people were injured in the incident that British authorities were treating as a potential terrorist attack. If confirmed would make it the fourth since March in Britain and the third to involve a vehicle deliberately driven at pedestrians.
One man, who was already being given first aid at the scene before the vehicle was driven into pedestrians, has died but police said it was not clear whether his death was directly linked. The attack comes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Shortly after midnight, the hired vehicle swerved into a group of people leaving prayers at the Finsbury Park Mosque, one of the biggest in the country, witnesses said.
Following the incident, the European Jewish Congress expressed its shock and condemned the attack.
“This is an unconscionable attack on Muslim worshippers during their holy month of Ramadan,” EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor said. “We condemn this attack and its attempt to escalate tensions in the UK and we stand firmly besides our Muslim brothers and sisters in the aftermath of this attack.”
“An attack on one religion is an attack on all religions and all people and faiths must stand together against terror,” he stated.
The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, also released a statement condemning the attack.
“Our heartfelt sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with the victims,” he said.
He mentioned that the Jewish community has spent the past weekend together with Muslims and others participating in the Great Get Together in memory of Jo Cox – a British Labour Party politician who was murdered last year by an alleged white supremacist.
“All good people must stand together and join in rejecting hatred and violence from wherever it comes. The way forward is to strengthen the moderate majority and repudiate and marginalize extremism of every type,” Arkush stated. “Hatred of people because of their religion has no place in our society.”
An armed police officer attends to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017 (Reuters)An armed police officer attends to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017 (Reuters)
Meanwhile, the UK’s Jewish Leadership Council expressed its solidarity with the country’s Muslim community following the ramming attack.
“We utterly condemn the vile, terrorist attack at the Finsbury Park Mosque last night,” said the council’s chief executive, Simon Johnson. “To target those at worship or observing their faith is a betrayal of our British values of tolerance, respect and kindness, on which our society is built.”
“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” he added.
In addition, the Community Security Trust (CST), a Jewish security organization in Britain, tweeted its condemnation of the “likely terror-inspired attack against Muslims in Finsbury Park.”
“Our condolences to the victims & to Muslim communities UK wide,” read the communique.