IT TOOK Daniel Osborne a couple of minutes to kill Makram Ali and injure several bystanders. It took nine days to try him for murder and attempted murder. It took the jury less than an hour to convict him.
Osborne will have 43 years in jail to reflect on his crime. The family of the man he murdered will have a lifetime of missing him. Those who were seriously injured will have to live with their injuries. Our thoughts are with them.
This is the reality of what Islamophobia can do. Everyone who indulges in “low level” attacks on Muslims is encouraging fellow bigots like Osborne to go further. Everyone who stops short of challenging Islamophobia is stoking those same fires.
The sentence was so substantial because the Judge recognised what Osborne did was terrorism. No longer is “terrorism” something that any brown Muslim is doing or about to do. The Court has punished Osborne with an appropriate sentence under the law which shows that Islamophobia is unacceptable in respectable British society.
Over the last two weeks we have heard how Osborne became attracted to the far right and decided to set off on a one man mission – perhaps to kill Jeremy Corbyn, but if that proved impossible to kill as many Muslims as he could. He ended up driving his van through Finsbury Park, where he saw Muslims coming out of late night prayers. And he drove into them. Those in the crowd who were not injured “helped” him out of his van and detained him – showing great restraint.
Commander Dean Haydon, Head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said, “Osborne’s evil and cowardly actions meant a family has tragically lost a husband, father and grandfather. There were also twelve others, who, having gone to Mr Ali’s aid, sustained various injuries from the collision. Some of those injured have still not fully recovered and could suffer from health issues for the rest of their lives.
“I would like to pay tribute to Mr Ali’s family and the local community in Finsbury Park, for their tremendous support and understanding with our investigation during what must have been an extremely difficult time for them.
“From the very outset, this investigation has had the full weight of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command behind it and I hope today’s outcome means those affected can start to think about putting this terrible ordeal behind them.”
Commander Dean Haydon said, “From our investigation, it was clear that Osborne had planned to come to London with the intention of carrying out an attack against the Muslim community. Only he will know, but if Osborne’s aim was to create divisions and hate between communities, then from what I have seen, he has failed in that respect. The way that the local community in Finsbury Park – of all faiths and backgrounds – came together was astounding and this reaction was the same across London and the UK.
“I must also praise those who initially detained Osborne immediately after the attack – in particular the local Imam, who ensured that Osborne didn’t come to any significant harm whilst waiting for officers to arrive at the scene. Again, this response and the overwhelmingly positive reaction my officers and teams have witnessed since, just further highlights how far from reality Osborne’s sick and twisted views really are.”
Murdered Mr Makram Ali’s daughter, Rusina Akhtar, spoke to reporters outside the Court after Osborne was sentenced. “Our father, like the victims of most terrorism, was entirely innocent which makes his death in this violent way all the more hurtful,” she said. “He was such a peaceful and simple man, he had no bad thoughts for anyone.”
The sentence delivered today is a little comfort, though it cannot bring Mr Makram back. But it is, for once, justice.
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