Regent’s Park Mosque stabbing: Injured prayer leader returns to scene of attack less than a day later
PUBLISHED: 14:43 21 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:44 21 February 2020
The prayer leader who was stabbed during afternoon prayers on Thursday returned to the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park just a day later after leaving hospital.
Raafat Maglad, who is in his 70s, was attacked inside the mosque during prayers.
A 29-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
Mr Maglad's time in hospital appeared brief: On Friday morning, Mr Maglad was photographed outside his home smiling and wearing a sling to support his right arm, before heading back to the mosque at around 12.30.
Witnesses told how Mr Maglad, a muezzin who makes the call to prayer, was stabbed at around 3pm in an attack the Metropolitan Police is not treating as terror-related.
Worshippers tackled the suspect, a 29-year-old man who is believed to have been attending prayers.
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Afterwards, Ayaz Ahmad, adviser to the mosque, said: "Men were screaming while the attack was going on. It was a vicious attack. We regularly hear about knife crime but in the circumstances to see it first hand can be very shocking."
The stabbing, following a string of attacks on places of worship around the world, has prompted safety fears.
Shortly after the attack, Waleed Mohammed, who said he was a regular mosque-goer and lived around the corner said Mr Maglad was "part of the furniture here". He added: He would be quite sad to find out after thirty years someone has tried to kill him. I have been coming here since I was a kid. He was a witness at my wedding. Me and him both like boxing.
"He was a big fan of Muhammad Ali. Even at 70 he has a very good block on him. There should have been more security to protect him."
Ch Supt Helen Harper said: "This was a profoundly shocking incident inside a place of worship and an urgent investigation is being carried out into the circumstances.
"Although we believe this to be an isolated incident, patrols have been increased around the area of the mosque to provide reassurance to worshippers and the local community."
Westminster council leader Cllr Rachael Robathan (Con, Knightsbridge and Belgravia) said: ""I am saddened by the attack at Regent's Park Mosque. The motives for this attack are unclear, but one thing is absolutely clear - violence has absolutely no place in our city. Our thoughts are with the victim of this attack and his family."
Additional reporting by PA Media.