Police have stepped up armed patrols around Scotland’s 84 mosques in response to the latest terrorist attack in London.
A man died and nine people were injured, two of them seriously, after a van driver, described as ‘a large white man’, targeted pedestrians near London’s Finsbury Park Mosque early yesterday morning.
Witnesses described hearing the man, who was detained by members of the public at the scene, shout: “I’m going to kill Muslims.”
Police last night said a 47-year-old man was being held on suspicion of attempted murder and was later further arrested over alleged terror offences. Searches were being carried out at an address in the Cardiff area.
Assistant Chief Constable Nelson Telfer of Police Scotland said: “There is no specific threat to Scotland, however we are increasing armed patrols in response to the attack in London.
“We continue to engage with all communities providing reassurance and appropriate support.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted yesterday: “Let us stand as firmly against terrorists who attack Muslims as we do against those claiming to act in name of Islam.
“This was a senseless and horrific attack on Muslims leaving prayers in a mosque and our attitude and response to that should just be as serious and as steadfast as our response to those who carry out such attacks supposedly in the name of Islam.”
Religious and community leaders in Scotland also condemned the attack on worshippers. The Muslim Council of Scotland said: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the callous terrorist attack on worshippers in London.
“This attack was aimed directly at the vibrant Muslim community during the month of Ramadan at a time when many families would have been returning home after night-time prayers.”
Church of Scotland Moderator the Rt Rev Dr Derek Browning said: “All acts of brutality and terrorism are to be condemned.
“Such actions targeting people leaving a place of worship after prayers are particularly disturbing.”
Prime Minister Theresa May said the mosque attack was “every bit as sickening” as other atrocities recently carried out in the UK.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said the incident was “quite clearly an attack on Muslims”, and that the local community would now also see more armed officers in the area, “particularly around religious establishments”.