A 70-year-old muslim leader stabbed inside Regent’s Park mosque yesterday says he is lucky to survive and vowed that nothing would ever stop him from carrying out his daily prayers.
Raafat Maglad, a muezzin who leads the call to prayer, was stabbed in the neck at London Central Mosque during prayers whilst in sujood (prostration to God) at about 3pm yesterday.
Members of the congregation rushed to tackle the knifeman, pinning him down until police and emergency services arrived.
The suspect, 29, is being held on suspicion of attempted murder.
Mr Maglad, a father-of-three from Queen’s Park who leads the call to prayer five times a day, was rushed to hospital and was discharged this morning, his arm in a sling.
Speaking to press he said: “I would like to thank everyone who helped. Last night the emergency room was full of so many people supporting me. It was nice.
“This attack won’t change my behaviour. Nothing will stop me praying, and I will be back calling prayers as soon as I can. I have to find out if I need surgery first.”
Dramatic video footage of the aftermath of the attack shows the suspect being led out of the mosque in handcuffs.
One video showed a knife on the floor under a plastic chair.
Mr Maglad was prayer caller at the funeral of Dodi Fayed, killed with Diana, Princess of Wales, in the 1997 Paris car crash.
Abi Watik, 59, who had been praying one row behind the attacker, said: “We were kneeling down, as we started saying Allahu Akbar he got the knife from under his trousers and cut him.
“He was behind him, and then we heard screaming, and the Imam stopped praying and the people who were behind him they catch him straight away and put him on the floor, then after that there was lots of blood.”
Of the knifeman, witnesses say that he’s been seen many times in the mosque. He’s been frequenting the place of worship for around six months.