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The New Arab Staff

British Muslim convert jailed for knife attack on prayer leader at London mosque

Police stand guard after an attack at the London Central Mosque [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 December, 2020

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Daniel Horton has been sentenced to seven years in jail for stabbing an elderly prayer leader at a central London mosque.

A British man has been sentenced to seven years in jail for stabbing a prayer leader in the neck at a central London mosque in February.

Daniel Horton, 30, used a small kitchen knife to stab Raafat Maglad, 70, during prayers at London Central Mosque, better known as the Regents Park Mosque.

At a hearing in Southwark Crown Court, Horton was sentenced to a minimum of seven years and will serve a further four years of extended license when he is released.

On 20 February, Maglad was serving as the mosque's muezzin - responsible for calling worshippers to prayer - when Horton stabbed him, leaving him with a 1.5 cm cut to his neck.

Horton, a convert to Islam, was known to the congregation, and had been attending the mosque as a worshipper for a number of years.

Speaking during the trial, Prosecutor Benn Maguire told the court how Maglad was "less confident about standing in front of the prayer hall while the congregation is standing behind him, as he is scared about being attacked".

Describing the incident to the BBC, Maglad said it felt like someone had "hit him with a brick".

In court, Maglad revealed he was unable to perform his duties at the mosque due to consequences of the attack.

"My role at the mosque calling prayer is effectively like singing for three to four minutes continuously. I have called for prayer five times a day, seven days a week, even when unwell," he told the court.

"I have been sidelined at the mosque because I can no longer perform my role fully. It is very upsetting for me, my role at the mosque has been my whole life."

Horton, who in the past has been treated for schizophrenia and personality disorder, had previously been helped by Maglad as he struggled with to find a home.

The muezzin offered Horton a place to sleep and provided food vouchers when he was homeless.

Following the attack, Horton - who was homeless at the time - said  he had not intended to kill the muezzin, rather "send a message". 

Read also: 'Foreigners leave': Mosque in Germany plastered with Islamophobic posters

Later, he admitted that the attack was prompted by a disagreement with Maglad.

In court, Horton pleaded guilty to one count of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent and a charge of possession of a bladed article. He did not appear in the dock for his sentencing.

Raafat Maglad made a full recovery from his injuries and has since returned to the mosque.

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