British Jewish leaders condemn van attack on Muslim worshippers


(JTA) — The van ramming attack at a mosque in London is “a painful illustration of why we must never allow hatred to breed hatred,” Britain’s chief rabbi said.

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said his thoughts were with those affected by the early Monday morning attack on the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, in which a van drove into a group of people standing in front of the mosque, leaving one person dead and injuring 10.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned the attack in a statement issued shortly after it occurred just after midnight on Monday morning.

“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,” the statement said, adding: “Hatred of people because of their religion has no place in our society.”


British police said the incident was being investigated as a terror attack, which would make it the fourth such attack since March, including two van ramming and stabbing attacks on and near London Bridge, and a bomb attack outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

The driver of the van in Monday morning’s attack was arrested after he was seized and prevented from fleeing by bystanders; a Muslim imam reportedly prevented the crowd from injuring the attacker. Some bystanders told reporters that he said “Kill all Muslims” and “I did it” following the attack. The driver reportedly smiled and waved at the crowds as he was taken away in a police cruiser.  His mental health reportedly will be assessed on Monday.

The European Jewish Congress in a statement called the attack ” unconscionable.”

“We condemn this attack and its attempt to escalate tensions in the UK and we stand firmly beside our Muslim brothers and sisters in the aftermath of this attack,” EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor said in the statement. “An attack on one religion is an attack on all religions and all people and faiths must stand together against terror.”

All of the victims in the Monday morning attack are Muslim, according to reports.