Imam beaten unconscious

Dulwich Islamic Centre’s Imam became yet another victim of a vicious Islamophobic attack on Saturday July 16.

The driver of a white van tailed Muhammed Haq as he cycled to Asr (late afternoon prayers) at about 7 pm. The driver pulled over in Lordship Lane, Dulwich, south London, and repeatedly punched Haq shattering his cheekbone. Haq lost consciousness while the assailant fled.

Despite the pain, the 27-year-old spoke of the attack.

Speaking to The Muslim News Haq said, “I was on my bicycle when I noticed a white van beside me. It pulled over in the middle of the street and blocked my path. I assumed he wanted directions. He said nothing – but the next moment he was hitting me. He started screaming ‘Al-Qa’idah’ at me whilst punching me.”

Haq then blacked out but said his bruises indicate he was hit after he lost consciousness.

He is due for surgery on his cheek on Monday, July 25.

Police quizzed a 20-year-old man on July 18, on suspicion of racist assault. A spokesperson for the police confirmed the arrest to The Muslim News, “William Gregory, aged 20, appeared before magistrates and was charged with Religiously Aggravated Assault on July 19.”

Worshippers at the Northcross Road Centre were also singled out on the day of the London bomb attacks when yobs dumped pork outside – a grave insult to Muslims.

Haq, who led prayers for the London bomb victims, said, “We had just finished prayers for those who died when somebody spotted the pork.” He described it as the work “of mindless idiots”.

Chairman of the Centre, Hussain Malik, said, “We utterly condemn the despicable attacks on London and we utterly condemn these criminal attacks on our mosque.”

Muslim News, 29 July 2005