When a crowd captured the Finsbury Park terrorist, an imam told them to keep him safe and wait for police

An imam is being hailed as a hero for his role in urging an angry crowd not to pummel a terror suspect and allow police to arrive and arrest the man who drove a white van at a high speed into pedestrians outside a mosque in the Finsbury Park section of London.

Muslim leader Mohammed Mahmoud stepped into a dangerous situation and made an appeal to witnesses not to attack the 48-year-old suspect after he jumped out of the van and was shouting, "I want to kill all Muslims," and then, "Kill me, kill me."

Mahmoud kept yelling at the crowd, "Don't hit him, hand him over to the police, pin him down." At that point, more men joined him in protecting the suspect.

18 PHOTOS
Vehicle hits pedestrians near London mosque
See Gallery
Vehicle hits pedestrians near London mosque
An armed police officer attends to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Police officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Armed police officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Armed police officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Police officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Armed police officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Police officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Emergency services are seen near Finsbury Park as British police say there are casualties after reports of a vehicle colliding with pedestrians in North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Ritvik Carvalho TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A man prays after a vehicle collided with pedestrians near a mosque in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Police officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians near a mosque in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Men pray after a vehicle collided with pedestrians near a mosque in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Men pray after a vehicle collided with pedestrians near a mosque in the Finsbury Park neighborhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017.
Forensic and police officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighbourhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Forensic officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighbourhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Police forensic officers examine the scene close to where a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighbourhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Police officers walk behind cordon tape at the scene of an attack where a man drove a van at muslim worshippers outside a mosque in Finsbury Park in North London, Britain, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Police officers detain a man near the scene of an attack where a van was driven at muslim worshippers outside a mosque in Finsbury Park in North London, Britain, June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Police did arrive and arrested the driver of the van. Scotland Yard has praised the "restraint" of the crowd for protecting the man so he could be taken into custody.

RELATED: A disturbing video shows desperate Swedes escaping a terrorist behind the wheel

Adil Rana, a 24-year-old witness said: "The van was driving towards us to try and basically hit us at speed, and everyone was shocked, and people were screaming. There were people on the floor."

He continued: "The driver jumped out and then he was pinned down to the floor and people were punching him and beating him, which was reasonable because of what he's done. And then the imam of the mosque actually came out and said, 'Don't hit him, hand him over to the police, pin him down.'"

Another witness, Abdul Rahman, told the BBC that the suspect clearly was saying that he wanted to "kill all Muslims."

RELATED: After another terror attack in London, Tucker Carlson issues an anti-Muslim warning to Americans

"When the guy came out from his van, he wanted to escape, run away and he was saying: 'I want to kill Muslims. I want to kill Muslims,'" Rahman said. "I hit him on his stomach, and then me and the other guys, we held him to the ground until he couldn't move. We stopped him until the police came."

A third witness, Hussain Ali, 28, said that the suspect was restrained and protected by the very people the driver of the van was targeting to kill. Ali said the imam urged the people not to hurt him.

"The leader of the mosque said, 'You do not touch him.' He was sitting and holding him like that, people kept holding him. All the police and helicopters came after around eight minutes."

More from Rare:
If you think putting your phone in your lap when you see police is going to save you, think again
Watch what happens when Somali pirates mess with Americans who break out the big guns
A parking lot bully tries to punch out this dude, and ends up knocked out, face down on concrete

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.