An attacker entered London Central Mosque during afternoon prayer and stabbed a 70-year-old prayer leader on Thursday, before being subdued by worshipers and arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, the police said.
People who attend the mosque regularly said they were familiar with the suspect, and the Metropolitan Police said they were not treating the stabbing as an act of terrorism. The victim’s wound was not considered life-threatening, the police said. The injured man was a muezzin, the person who leads the call to prayer, and he had just begun singing when he was assaulted, the mosque said in a statement.
“The attacker was apprehended by the worshipers until the police arrived and arrested him,” the mosque’s statement read.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a brief statement on Twitter that he was “saddened” to hear of the attack.
“It’s so awful that this should happen, especially in a place of worship,” he wrote.
Afternoon prayer had just begun when the attack took place, and images and video footage posted on Twitter showed people at the mosque, near Regent’s Park in Central London, wrestling a barefoot man wearing a red jacket to the ground.
A video taken inside the mosque shows a crowd of men gathered around the suspect as the police restrain him. A knife can be seen on the floor a few feet away.