A man left traumatised and on crutches by the Finsbury Park mosque terror attack said the British Government has been “blindsided” by the rise of the far right because of its preoccupation with Islamic extremism.
Abdirahman Ibrahim, 31, was clipped by a van driven by Darren Osborne as it ploughed into worshippers in north London in June 2017.
He tended to victim Makram Ali and others injured before helping apprehend Osborne after he fled the vehicle.
Mr Ibrahim was on crutches for nearly three months following the attack after his knee was damaged, and has been left with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety and hyper-vigilance.
The father-of-one, who lives in Archway, north London, said it was the first time he felt ready to speak to media since the attack two years ago.
Asked about his perceptions of Islamophobia since the Brexit vote in 2016, he told the Press Association: “I have seen a rise and I believe that the Government, basically concentrating on Islamic extremism, they’ve been blindsided by the rise of the far right, and also I believe that the Government has neglected the public agenda by concentrating on Brexit all the time.”
He said he was “saddened” that this was the case and invited people of all faiths and none to get to know their religious brothers and sisters.
He added: “The far right not only are anti-Islamic, some of them are anti-Semitic as well, so you need to also pop in and have a word with them.
“We breathe the same, we live the same.”
Mr Ibrahim, who is married and has a seven-month-old baby son, said he first thought the driver had lost control of the van and that he may be having a heart attack.
He did not know whether the victims were friends of his as he went around checking if worshippers lying scattered across the ground were conscious and breathing.
Describing the aftermath, he said: “It was panic, hectic all around us. We saw blood, we saw people screaming.
“There was an elderly lady… in her late 70s early 80s, she got hit head-on and she was complaining about not being able to breathe, and I was trying to calm her down, so I was full of adrenaline, and my injuries only came out after an hour, when the adrenaline wore off that I started feeling my injuries.”
Relaying the trauma he has been left with, he said: “No matter how much counselling or professionals I go to see regarding my mental health, it’s always going to remain in the back of my mind what happened that day.”
He said of the iftar gathering: “It’s beautiful to see an event like this happening, however what is worrying is security at a place of worship in modern day Britain, it’s like a shame on all of us to see that we need security to the outside of mosques.”
– Press Association