Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:53AM
A view of East London Mosque
A view of East London Mosque

British Muslim leaders have denounced the deadly Daesh terror attack at the heart of London, calling on all communities to stand together in the face of terrorism.

The Muslim Council of Britain’s general secretary, Harun Khan, said in a statement on Thursday that the deadly attack in Westminster was “cowardly and depraved.”

The attack, claimed by the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, was carried out by a man identified as Khalid Masood, 52, who was born in Britain. He was shot dead by police after he plowed a vehicle through crowds in central London, killing four and injuring scores of others on Wednesday.

“There is no justification for this act whatsoever. The best response to this outrage is to make sure we come together in solidarity and not allow the terrorists to divide us,” Khan said. “I hope my Muslim brothers and sisters will reach out to fellow Londoners and Britons in solidarity to demonstrate that such hatred will not defeat our way of life."

People light candles on a patch of sand during a vigil in central London on March 23, 2017 in solidarity with the victims of the March 22 terror attack at the British parliament and on Westminster Bridge. (Photo by AFP)

The Muslim Council earlier offered prayers for the victims of the attack.

The East London mosque, which is the oldest in the capital and the largest in the UK, issued a statement, saying, “Such heinous acts of mindless violence must not be allowed to cause division and hatred among our communities, rather we must remain united and stand in solidarity with all.”

Many public figures, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, also said the deadly attack should not be used to incite hatred.

“The reason terrorists want to attack London is because they hate the fact that we don’t just tolerate each other – whether you’re a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, member of an organized faith or not – we respect, embrace and celebrate each other and that’s going to carry on,” Khan said.

The attack was also condemned by Jewish leaders, including Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who slammed the attack as “depraved and abhorrent.”

Several imams are expected to express shock and horror over the deadly attack on Friday prayers.

‘Flawed UK policies behind rise in terror’

Meanwhile, Sayeeda Warsi, who served as a minister in the former UK cabinet, has blamed the country’s vulnerability to such terror attacks on the flawed counter-terrorism policies pursued by the British government since 2010.

In an extract of her book, which will be published later this month, Warsi said most deaths from “lone wolf” attacks in Europe since 2006 had been carried out by those motivated by “far-right, nationalist or supremacist ideology.”

She pointed to the 2005 al-Qaeda bombings in London, saying the government had, since then, become fixated on the idea that Islamic ideology was the root cause of the terrorism threat facing the UK>

Warsi wrote, the UK continues “making policy based on a premise that is simply flawed,” adding that a wrong analysis of the problem could never lead to any solution.

“This is dangerous territory, because the longer we fail to understand or acknowledge the root causes of terrorism, the longer we will simply deal with the symptoms, not the disease,” she added.