Witnesses say Islamophobic remarks were hurled from car before it struck three people outside Islamic centre
London mosque crash: three injured in 'anti-Muslim' attack
British police are investigating a possible anti-Muslim motive after three people were struck by a car outside a London mosque in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Occupants of the car, which hit pedestrians outside the Al Majlis Al Hussaini Islamic Centre in Cricklewood, north-west London, allegedly shouted Islamophobic comments before the crash.
The car was driven from the scene and police are working to find its driver and three passengers, believed to be three men and one woman, all in their mid-twenties.
Two of those injured in the collision were taken to hospital. A man in his fifties remains in hospital and is being treated for a serious leg injury.
"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," London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
Before the collision, security personnel at the centre asked the four occupants to leave a private car park following reports of anti-social behaviour.
The group was reported to be “drinking and allegedly using drugs”, police added.
The car then drove near the mosque where the group became involved in a confrontation with people outside the centre.
"Words were exchanged and comments of an Islamophobic nature were allegedly made by the group in the car," police said.
It was reported that the vehicle sustained minor damage by some of those from the centre before speeding up and hitting three people.
Witness Hassan Naddi told the London Evening Standard: “I felt absolutely helpless. You don’t understand how many women and children he just missed. People were ducking behind cars to hide.
“They were shouting ‘You dirty Muslims’. Without a doubt it was an Islamophobic attack from the stuff they were screaming out of the windows.”
Det Sgt Kelly Schonhage said police patrols had been stepped up in the area.
A spokesman for the Hussaini Association said: "We are in deep shock at such an attack taking place on our community but remain proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society."