Van attack on London Muslims suggests new polarization

LONDON (AP) — The rash of deadly terror attacks that has rattled Britain in recent months took an ominous new turn on Monday as Muslim worshippers became targets during the holy month of Ramadan, mowed down by an attacker who plowed a van into a crowd leaving prayers at two mosques in north London.

It was the same tactic Islamic extremists used in recent assaults on Westminster Bridge and London Bridge. Those attacks and a third outside a pop concert in Manchester have triggered a surge in hate crimes against Muslims around Britain.

British authorities, including Prime Minister Theresa May, and Islamic leaders moved swiftly to ease concerns in the Muslim community following the attack shortly after midnight that injured at least nine people in London’s Finsbury Park neighborhood, which is home to a large Muslim population.

Authorities said the incident was being treated as a terror attack. One man died at the scene, although he was receiving first aid at the time and it wasn’t clear if he died as a result of the attack or from something else.

British media identified the suspect as Darren Osborne, a 47-year-old Briton and father of four living in Cardiff, Wales, who was not known to authorities before the attack.

Details about the assailant were sketchy, but the assault — the most dramatic against Muslims in London in recent years — suggested a new, dangerous level of polarization in British society.

“This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship,” May said in a televised address. “And like all terrorism, in whatever form, it shares the same fundamental goal. It seeks to drive us apart — and to break the precious bonds of solidarity and citizenship that we share in this country. We will not let this happen.”

Mayor Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, also urged residents to stand together.

“While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge, it is also an assault on…

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