Jeremy Corbyn in Oldham
Jeremy Corbyn after the Oldham West byelectionReuters

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn branded an arson attack on Finsbury Park Mosque "disgusting and disgraceful" at a rally in his home district of Islington North.

Corbyn spoke to around 150 people outside the mosque on 4 December amidst applause and chants of "Jeremy! Jeremy!". When he left the platform, Corbyn was mobbed by supporters and had to be escorted by two mosque security guards towards Finsbury Park station.

Corbyn has represented Islington North for some 30 years and has close ties with the mosque, which in 2005 ousted the radical preacher Abu Hamza and his supporters. Friday's event was in response to an attempted arson attack that was caught on CCTV last week.

"Thank you to every one of you who's come here this evening to stand as part of our united, local community in support of Finsbury Park Mosque because of the disgusting and disgraceful attack that they suffered last Friday night," said Corbyn.

"There can be no defence for that attack, there can be no apology for it - it was simply wrong.

"If that attack was designed to divide our community between one faith and another, one ethnic group and another, one people and another, it has failed, it will fail - it will always fail because we're very proud of our multicultural community here in Finsbury Park," the Labour leader said.

The vigil was organised by Unite Against Fascism, Stop the War Coalition and Finsbury Park Mosque. Police are continuing to search for the suspect who threw a Molotov cocktail - which did not explode - over the railings. Footage showed the suspect trying to light a jerry can containing the flammable fluid before launching it into the mosque grounds.

"Scorch marks were found on clothing wrapped around the jerry can. This was a clear and deliberate attempt to cause arson. Although the petrol did not fully ignite, the threat and intent was obvious and the resulting fire could quite easily have endangered anyone inside as well as those living nearby," Detective Sergeant Stuart Smillie said following the incident.

The attack took place just weeks after false letters claiming to be from the mosque were circulated in the community. "I don't know why we have been targeted," Mosque chairman Mohammed Kozbar told the Islington Gazette. "We do good, positive work in the community.

"It has made everyone associated with the mosque even more determined to follow our aim of community cohesion," he continued. "We will not let these people change our way of life, and stop us integrating with the community."

The Metropolitan Police is urging anyone with information about the arson attempt to contact them. Islington CID can be contacted on 0207 421 0262. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or on crimestoppers-uk.org.