Three unidentified men have attacked a Muslim worshiper outside a mosque east of the British capital hours after a terrorist assault on Muslims in New Zealand.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed on Saturday that three men had used objects identified as batten and hammer to attack a 27-year-old Muslim outside an East London mosque.
However, the Met refused to designate the attack as an act of terror and hate crime against the Muslims despite accounts by witnesses at the scene who said the attackers had been abusive and shouted Islamophobic slurs. The attackers even called the Muslims “terrorists”, according to witnesses.
The victim of the attack, described by the Met as an Asian, suffered injuries to his head. He was rushed to a nearby hospital by people at the scene.
Videos on social media showed the attackers, described by the police to be in their 20s, jumping into a blue Ford Fiesta they had used to reach the mosque and then fled the scene.
The attack came hours after some 49 Muslim worshipers were massacred in two mosques in Christchurch, south of New Zealand. The attacker, identified as Brenton Tarrant, has said that he had been inspired by Darren Osborne, an English terrorist who drove his car into a crowd of Muslim worshipers outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, North London, in June 2017.
UK authorities said they had stepped up security at mosques across the country after the attacks in New Zealand. Experts warn there could be similar assaults on Muslims in Britain given the increase in hate attacks reported against members of the community over the past few years.