What’s ‘OBE’ UK imam honoured with for shielding Finsbury Park mosque attacker

LONDON: A London-based Imam has been given an Office of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) award for protecting the Finsbury Park attacker who drove a van into a packed pavement of Muslim worshippers at Finsbury Park Mosque in 2017.

Prince William, whose title is the Duke of Cambridge, awarded the honour to Imam Mohammed Mahmoud, who is now based at the East London at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

The attack on June 19 happened in Ramadan after tharawi prayers killed one Makram Ali, 51, and injured nine others when the attacker, 47-year-old far-right extremist Darren Osborne drive a van into a crowd near a London mosque.

Despite Osborne’s actions, Mr Mahmoud shielded him from the angry worshippers by standing in front of the crowd until the police arrived. Mr Mahmoud was praised for his reaction both in the UK and across the globe.

Imam Mohammed Mahmoud poses with his medal after being appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the community of London, at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace. (AFP)

“Heroes are those who go beyond the line of duty, whereas what I did on that night, with a group of other congregants from our mosque, was not extraordinary,” the imam told the UK news channel after receiving the honour.

“It was our duty to de-escalate the situation and to calm people down and to bring people to their senses and that thankfully is what happened.”

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The imam’s award was among a record number for British Muslims in Queen Elizabeth’s 2019 New Year’s Honours list.

In February 2018, Osborne was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 43 years, after being convicted of terrorism-related murder and attempted murder.

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