A man has been attacked with a “hammer” and “batten” outside an East London mosque, British media reported hours after at least 49 people were killed in an attack on two mosques in New Zealand.
A group of men shouted Islamophobic abuses as they drove past the mosque and called attendees at Friday prayers “terrorists”, eyewitnesses told the Independent newspaper.
One of the three men then climbed out of the vehicle and allegedly attacked one of the worshippers with a weapon. The 27-year-old victim sustained injury to his head.
In a video filmed by a witness, one of the attackers was seen climbing onto the front of the car in an attempt to get away from the scene.
“The suspects returned to their car and left the scene before police arrived,” a spokesperson for London’s Metropolitan Police told the Independent, adding that the suspects were all described as white men, believed to be in their 20s.
No arrests have been made yet.
‘London stands with Christchurch’
Following the attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, UK police officers stepped up security around mosques on Friday.
“Whilst there is no intelligence linking these appalling events in Christchurch to the UK, additional uniform patrols will continue in London and nationally over the coming days, focusing on places of worship and specific communities,” Neil Basu, the national policing lead for counterterrorism, told the Independent.
“We are paying specific attention to mosques, particularly Friday prayers.
“Many communities will be understandably concerned and local officers will be out and about providing reassurance and protective security advice to communities, places of worship and businesses.”
In a statement issued after the attack, mayor of London Sadiq Khan said London “stands with the people of Christchurch in the face of this horrific terror attack”.
“London will always celebrate the diversity that some seek to destroy … I want to reassure the Muslim communities in London,” he said.
“I have been in touch with the Met Police. There will be highly visible policing around mosques today, as well as armed response officers, as Londoners go to pray.”