Members of the Muslim community have told IBTimes UK they live in fear "every day" due to what they see as a rise in Islamophobia in London. They made the remarks in the aftermath of a terror attack that killed at least one person and injured another ten after a man rammed a van into pedestrians outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, East London.
The victims were Muslim worshippers who had gone to the mosque to pray after Iftar, the breaking of the dawn-to-dusk fast observed during the month of Ramadan.
The 48-year-old suspect, whose identity has been revealed as Darren Osborne arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, and is now in police custody.
Members of the Muslim community claimed the mosque attack was not an isolated episode as Muslims across London have been experiencing a rise in Islamophobic attacks. They said reprisal attacks targeting Muslims tend to increase following terror attacks committed by people "labelled as Muslims".
"The government and media always say it is Muslims Muslims Muslims when terror attacks happen, so people will end up hating Muslims," a man, who identified himself only as Mohammed, said.
"Forget today, it is just in general, it happens every day," another man who lives in the area said.
The source, who spoke on conditions of anonymity fearing reprisal, added: "When there was the stabbing incident [in London Bridge], do you know how many Muslims women were attacked after that? Women with black eyes, they had acid thrown in their face, everything is happening because of how the media portray [Muslims], people keep targeting Muslims because of Islamophobia."
Tell Mama UK, an independent organisation that aims to highlight attacks on the Muslim communities in the UK, recorded 100 attacks on mosques between May 2013 and September 2016. Most were vandalism or criminal damage. There were also arson attacks and assaults on worshippers.
The Muslim Council of Britain said the van "intentionally" hit worshippers and labelled the attack at Finsbury Park as a "violent manifestation of Islamophobia".
In the aftermath of the Finsbury Park attack, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, urged victims of hate crime to report the incident to the police.
"The good news is [that] after the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack we didn't see a big spike in hate crime [or] Islamophobic crime ... The bad news is we have seen a big spike after London Bridge," Khan said.
Prime Minister Theresa May said the Metropolitan Police declared it a "terrorist incident" within eight minutes and that extra police resources had been deployed to reassure communities.
"This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship. And like all terrorism, in whatever form, it shares the same fundamental goal," May said. "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."
She added: "It is a reminder that terrorism, extremism and hatred take many forms; and our determination to tackle them must be the same whoever is responsible. As I said here two weeks ago, there has been far too much tolerance of extremism in our country over many years – and that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia."
This is the fourth terror attack to occur on British soil in the recent month. At least seven people were killed and 48 injured in a knife and a vehicle assault in London bridge in June.
In March, at least four people were killed when British-born Khalid Masood ploughed his car into innocent pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and outside the Palace of Westminster.