British Judge Lauds The London Imam Who Protected A Mosque Attacker From An Angry Crowd

"This was a demonstration of true leadership."

British Judge Lauds The London Imam Who Protected A Mosque Attacker From An Angry Crowd

Last June, an attacker purposefully drove a van into a crowd of worshippers outside the Finsbury Park Mosque in London. The incident left one dead and several injured, and as the driver of the vehicle attempted to flee, a rightfully angry group of people descended upon him.

As noted last June by A Plus, it was in that moment that the mosque's imam, Mohammed Mahmoud, protected the attacker and prevented the crowd from injuring him. Instead of allowing the driver of the van to become an instant target of abuse, Mahmoud calmly held him down and waited for the police to arrive. As the religious leader explained to BuzzFeed News at the time, "We pushed people away from him until he was safely taken by police into custody and put into the back of the van."

Earlier this week, Mahmoud told ITV News a bit more about why he chose to protect a man who deliberately harmed members of his congregation. "We stepped in to prevent any further injury, any further harm that's unnecessary," he said. "And to make sure that he answers for his crime."

In a London courtroom on February 2, the driver of the van was sentenced to a minimum of 43 years in prison for the murder of 51-year-old Makram Ali, who lost his life in the attack. The BBC reports that after a nine-day trial, the jury took only one hour to return their decision.

As she delivered her final sentencing remarks, Justice Cheema-Grubb lauded Mahmoud for permitting "the law to take its course," instead of allowing irate bystanders to handle the matter themselves. As Cheema-Grubb put it, the imam "chose to respond to evil with good."

The judge also said, per Buzzfeed News, "This was a demonstration of true leadership. His behavior throws into sharp relief the bile spewed out online from those who aspire to lead the haters. Not because his exhortation to desist from punishing the perpetrator was remarkable but because he had the strength of character to do the right thing under pressure."

Cover image via REUTERS/John Nguyen/Pool TPX.

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