Speakers' Corner 'turning hostile' says Christian preacher slashed in the head

Tap above to watch video report by Ria Chatterjee

A Christian preacher slashed in the head by a knife at Speakers' Corner in central London said the area had become hostile for people engaging in religious debate. 

Footage shared on social media showed someone dressed in black approaching Hatun Tash in Hyde Park before running from the scene.

She clutched her hand close to her body with blood at her temple as she was helped into a police van by officers who were nearby. Hatun was attacked as she spoke to a member of the public.

"I watched the video clip and the intention wasn't just to harm me, the intention was to take my life," Hatun told reporter Ria Chatterjee.

"It is heartbreaking, you see blood on your hand and you see blood on your face and you see the fear in the eyes of people," she added.

Speakers' Corner has been a site of debate in central London since the mid-1800s.

Hatun converted from Islam to Christianity and preaches at Speakers' Corner about both religions.

"It is a good platform for me to get challenged about my faith and also critique the ideology of Islam," said Hatun.

"Speakers' Corner is a small place and sometimes it is difficult for individuals to control their emotions - I was dragged on the floor and slapped," she added.

Counter-terrorism officers are leading the investigation into the attack, but the incident "is not being treated as terrorism-related at this time" and police are keeping an open mind about possible motives, the Met Police said.

The Met added: "A number of people witnessed the incident and took mobile phone footage. We would ask those people to contact police and tell us what they know, if they have not already done so."