Theresa May pledges to clamp down on Islamophobic extremism after 'sickening' attack

Posted On: 
19th June 2017

Theresa May has promised to crack down on Islamophobia in the wake of the “sickening” attack outside a mosque in north London. 

Theresa May speaks outside No 10 after the Finsbury Park attack
Credit: 
Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

A 48-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a van drove into pedestrians in Finsbury Park.

One person, who was already receiving medical treatment at the time of incident, has died and eight more hospitalised.

Read: Theresa May's full statement on the Finsbury Park terror attack

Theresa May confirms terror investigation after fatal van attack in north London

Theresa May says human rights laws could be torn up to boost anti-terror powers

Amber Rudd and Boris Johnson back 'unflinching' inquiry into terror attack intelligence

All of the victims are believed to be Muslims, the Metropolitan Police said.

After chairing a government Cobra meeting this morning, the Prime Minister described the attack as “a reminder that terrorism, extremism and hatred take many forms”.

“There has been far too much tolerance of extremism in our country over many years – and that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia,” Mrs May said in a statement outside No 10.

It is the third apparent terrorist attack to have struck the UK in the last month, following the Manchester bombing and London Bridge atrocity, while more than 70 people are believed to have died in the fire at Grenfell Tower last week. 

The Prime Minister paid tribute to the resolve of the people of the capital in her statement: "What we have seen throughout – whether in the heroism of the ordinary citizens who fought off the attackers at London Bridge, the unbreakable resolve of the residents in Kensington or, this morning, the spirit of the community that apprehended this attacker – is that this is an extraordinary city of extraordinary people.

"It is home to a multitude of communities that together make London one of the greatest cities on earth: diverse, welcome, vibrant, compassionate, confident and determined never to give in to hate.

“These are the values that define this city; these are the values that define this country; these are the values that this Government will uphold; these are the values that will prevail.”

In the aftermath of London Bridge, Mrs May called for tougher action to clamp down on terror suspects and extremist ideologies.

She confirmed that plans for a counter-extremism commission would go ahead, comparing the situation to the fight against racism.  

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and local MP Jeremy Corbyn have both visited the scene of the attack today.

Mr Javid comforted a crying woman, and told her to “stay strong” in the wake of the incident.

“We’re going to try to do everything we can, I’m a Muslim too. I will do everything I can, I give you my word,” he said.

Labour leader Mr Corbyn added: “These are people I’ve represented for more than 35 years and I know some of them extremely well. I feel their pain today and I feel their stress today. I think we have to all reach out and feel their pain and their stress. The only answer to this has to be strong communities together so that these dreadful incidents don’t happen.”