UK police: possible hate crime outside Muslim center; 3 hurt
LONDON (AP) — British police are investigating a possible hate crime after a car hit pedestrians near a Muslim community center, injuring three people.
Police were called early Wednesday morning after a confrontation developed between four people in a car and a large group of people visiting a Muslim community center and mosque in the Cricklewood area of northwest London.
Officials said some anti-Muslim comments were made and the car reportedly sustained minor damage from some of the people from the center. It then sped off, mounting the pavement twice, and hitting three people without stopping.
Police said the injuries are not life threatening although two people needed hospital treatment. The case is not being treated as related to terrorism.
“It is being dealt with as an Islamophobic hate crime and it is being dealt with as a racist hate crime,” Simon Rose, the metropolitan police chief superintendent, said.
The Hussaini Association, which had organized a lecture at the mosque, called the collision “a suspected premeditated Islamophobic attack.”
In a statement, the group said the car “swerved into innocent bystanders” and the occupants were heard shouting anti-Islamic taunts just before the attack.
Police are searching for the car and its occupants, reported as three men and a woman.
“This incident is not being treated as terror-related but the hate crime aspect of the collision is being looked at by detectives as an aggravating factor,” police said in a statement.