Police Investigate ‘Hate Crime’ After Bacon Butties Were Thrown at a Mosque

Police are hunting down two men and a woman who threw bacon sandwiches at a large mosque in Bristol. Authorities are treating the incident as a hate crime, and witnesses said the suspects may have also left bacon outside the mosque and shouted abuse at worshippers.

Locals left sympathy cards and flowers were left outside the main entrance of the Bristol Jamia Mosque yesterday morning, as police searched CCTV for clues as to the perpetrators identities. One man, aged 34, has already been arrested and is being held in custody.

Police Chief Inspector Kevan Rowlands said: “Behaviour of this kind is totally unacceptable.

“Our communities have the right to live and worship peacefully without fear of being targeted for their race or religion.

“We take all hate crime incidents extremely seriously and we are working closely with the mosque to ensure the offenders are held to account for their abhorrent actions.”

Rabia Zaheer, who witnessed the attack, told the Express: “Pig meat was hung outside at prayer time and they hung their flag up.

“The worst thing is they decided to hang around and hurl abuse at the elderly men trying to pray.

“The locals did try to intervene and shout the scum down. Police are involved and the CCTV is being checked.

“Typical – they attack on a day when it’s mostly elderly men at the mosque and no young ones.

“I’ve lived here all my life and nothing like this has ever happened before.”

The mosque recently hosted a march through the town centre to celebrate the birthday of the Muslim prophet, Muhammed. The masjid’s leaders have also criticised UK government policy against tackling extremism as “pandering to the right wing”.

Abdul Malik, the mosque chairman said in December: “We run a brilliant madrasah that was recently established in the mosque and we feel that the government and David Cameron has misrepresented what occurs at mosques and maddrassas to pander to the right-wing of his party.”

He added: “We reject any proposals to register mosques and maddrasas, believing it to be a waste of time and playing politics with the Muslim community to appease anti-Islamic sentiments amongst certain sections of society.”

He also said, in July: “Instead of calling on Muslims to ascribe to some imagined list of ‘British values’, [Prime Minster David] Cameron would do well to recognise that British Muslims are already as British as is possible.

“Their strengths are Britain’s strengths and their failures are Britain’s failures. By ending the incessant questioning of British Muslims, the rhetoric of violent extremists is undermined.

A number of locals have taken to Twitter to express their disgust at the attack, using the hashtag #solidaritywithIslam.

Others suggested it should be a priority for the Police, and for George Ferguson, mayor of Bristol…

… Mr Ferguson agreed, calling the attack “cowardly” and “vile”.

The mosque, the largest in the South West, can accommodate up to 840 worshippers and is the oldest mosque in Bristol, having been open since 1968.

 

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