Monday, November 29, 1999

British MP recovering after being stabbed by Muslim woman

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London, May 16 (IANS) British MP and former Labour minister Stephen Timms was in 'good spirits' and recovering at a hospital here after a Muslim woman stabbed him at a meeting in his constituency.A 21-year-old unemployed Muslim woman, Roshonara Choudhary, was arrested and charged with attempted murder after she stabbed Timms twice in the stomach at a meeting Friday afternoon in his East London constituency. She will appear before the Stratford Magistrates' Court Monday.Timms, 54, underwent surgery Saturday night at the Royal London Hospital and will be discharged from hospital in the next few days to recuperate at home, a spokesman for the hospital said Sunday.A 22-year-old aide of Timms, Andrew Bazeley, had disarmed the woman, but was left covered in blood after he grabbed the knife.'Thank God Andrew had the presence of mind to get the knife. He was very brave to do what he did,' Umesh Desai, Timms' election aide and a local councillor was quoted as saying Sunday by Daily Mail.'He's a young guy and a very slim guy but he had the presence of mind to take the knife away. It's awful to think what could have happened if he hadn't been so brave,' Desai said, adding that Timms was 'obviously shaken'.Choudhary, who was wearing a Muslim dress, lunged at Timms and stabbed him twice before being restrained by Bazeley and a security guard.Meanwhile, Scotland Yard said the accused was armed with two knives - one was found at the scene and the other was hidden in her clothes.Police are studying CCTV footage, which shows the moment Timms collapses after the stabbing.'The security guard had grabbed this Asian woman. She was wearing a long black outfit like what Muslims wear and an orangey headscarf. I think she was a Muslim,' Sagal Ahmed, 16, a student present at the site was quoted as saying.'She wasn't saying anything. They were just grabbing her to keep her still. She was really shaking. The woman seemed shocked and distressed,' she said.The attack on Timms has shocked Britain's Muslim community.'We are shocked and saddened to hear that Stephen Timms MP has been stabbed. Mr Timms has always been close to his constituency and a friend of Muslims living in east London. He has been a good friend,' Shahid Mursaleen, spokesman for Newham-based moderate Muslim organisation Minhaj-ul-Quran UK, was quoted as saying.Timms was re-elected from his East Ham constituency in last week's general election.The MP secured a 7.7 percent swing from the Conservatives and won a remarkable 70.4 percent of the vote.

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