A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after he stabbed a man in his 70s who was leading the call to prayer in a mosque near Regent’s Park.
Worshippers tackled the 29-year-old suspected knifeman, who is believed to have been attending prayers at London Central Mosque, as witnesses told how he launched a “vicious attack” on the muazzin, who makes the call to prayer.
Police, who were called at about 3.10pm on Thursday, are not treating the incident as terror-related.
The victim was treated by paramedics before being taken to hospital. He is in a non-life threatening condition. The man who was arrested has now been taken into custody, the Metropolitan Police said.
Ayaz Ahmad, adviser to the mosque, said: “Everybody’s reaction was shock and horror, the men were screaming.
“It was a vicious attack. We live in a society where we hear a lot about knife crime and what have you but actually to physically be in a situation where you’re first-hand watching an attempted murder take place it’s very shocking.”
He added: “This guy was not a regular, I’ve never seen him here in 10 years.”
Images posted to social media showed a man in a red hooded top, jeans and bare feet being pinned to the floor by police officers inside the mosque, as others, including a small child, watched on.
A video also appeared to show a knife on the floor under a plastic chair.
Abi Watik, 59, said the victim was stabbed once in the right shoulder moments after prayers had started and the attacker “was silent the whole time”.
“We were shocked, we didn’t know what happened, we saw the guy on the floor and blood on his shoulder and the knife on the floor,” he said.
The mosque said members of the congregation broke from their prayers and restrained the attacker until police arrived.
Ahmad added: “It would have been life threatening if it wasn’t for the worshippers who helped stop the guy and apprehend him.
“I called the ambulance, the ambulance came within a...