A man who stabbed an imam at London Central Mosque has been jailed for seven years.
Daniel Horton, who worshipped at the mosque, admitted attacking Raafat Maglad as he led prayers on February 20 this year.
Horton had previously pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to causing grievous bodily harm and possession of a bladed article.
The 30-year-old was jailed for a minimum of seven years and will serve another four years on extended licence after he is released.
Mr Maglad was treated in hospital for his injuries, which included a 0.6in (1.5cm) injury to his neck. The 70-year-old muezzin returned to the mosque in Regent’s Park for Friday prayers less than 24 hours after the attack.
Last month, Judge Deborah Taylor was told by prosecutor Benn Maguire that Mr Maglad was now “less confident about standing in front of the prayer hall while the congregation is standing behind him, as he is scared about being attacked.”
Mr Maglad suffered nerve damage, has trouble sleeping and his voice has been “adversely affected”, Mr Maguire said.
The court was also told the victim and defendant were known to one other because Horton, who was homeless at the time, had been attending the mosque for a number of years.
Detective Constable Daniel Jones, the investigating officer from Central West CID, said: “This was a shocking and brutal unprovoked attack in a place of worship where the victim should have been safe. Today’s sentence highlights the callousness of this attack on an unsuspecting victim.
“Horton had the audacity to smile when he was shown images of his victim’s injuries, not showing any remorse for his heinous actions. I’m therefore pleased that Horton has been jailed for a considerable length of time for his actions.
“I’d like to thank the worshippers who heroically detained Horton on that day, which possibly prevented him from causing further harm. I’d also like to thank the victim for his courage and cooperation throughout the investigation. We may never know why Horton chose to viciously attack his victim, but there is never an acceptable excuse or reason for the use of violence.”