LONDON: A knife-wielding man was arrested after repeatedly stabbing the Muezzin inside the Regent’s Park Mosque in London.
The London Central Mosque said the assailant stabbed its Muezzin in front of 300 worshippers, who was actually going for the Imam.
Muezzin — a religious leader who calls the faithful to prayer — during the fifth daily prayer .
According to witnesses, the incident took place just before Salat-ul-Asr when the 29-year-old assailant, who is believed to have been attending prayers suddenly attack from behind with a five-inch blade.
The Muezzin, in his 70s, was stabbed after he courageously stepped in to save the Imam from a knife attacker.
It added that the assailant was apprehended by worshippers until the police arrived at the scene.
The victim “did not sustain any life-threatening injuries but was seriously injured and is being treated at the hospital,” the mosque said on its website.
One witness said the Muezzin appeared to have been stabbed in the neck while another said it was the right shoulder.
Photographs shared on social media from inside the mosque in Regent’s Park showed a white shoeless man in a red hooded top being pinned to the ground and handcuffed by two police officers.
One photograph showed a small knife lying under a plastic white chair next to the suspect.
Another showed the 29-year-old the suspect being silently led escorted out of the mosque by police.
Muezzin hailed as hero
The Muezzin- named by worshippers as Raafat Maglad, hailed as hero after saving Imam from being stabbed.
He was pictured smiling with a bandage on his wound after being “seriously injured” in knife attack.
The brave muezzin and around twenty hero mosque worshippers tackled the knifeman during prayers on Thursday.
The Muslim Council of Britain said that “regardless of the motive of the attacker, we must remain remain calm but vigilant”.
“We will be reassessing out safety advice to mosques across the country,” it said in a statement.
“Whilst many Muslims may be fearful, it is heartening to see faith and community leaders expressing their solidarity and support.”
Silent the whole time
The suspect “was silent the whole time,” witness Abi Watkin told the news agency.
Mr Watik, 59, said: “We were shocked we didn’t know what was happening.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was “deeply saddened” to learn of the attack.
“It’s so awful that this should happen, especially in a place of worship. My thoughts are with the victim and all those affected,” Johnson said.
The mosque said it had received phone calls expressing concern and solidarity from the offices of both Johnson and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
“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 will not be tolerated,” the London mayor tweeted.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also tweeted his “sympathy”.
The stabbing occurred one day after a shooter with apparent far-right beliefs killed nine people at a shisha bar and a cafe in the German city of Hanau.
The victims were all described as having a “migrant background”.