Four mosques in UK, 6 in New Zealand attacked
AFP | July 11, 2005
By Helen Clark
LONDON: Four mosques in separate English cities have been damaged slightly by fires set deliberately since London was hit by terrorist bombings, police said Sunday.
Incidents reported by individual police forces included arson attacks on mosques in Leeds, Belvedere, Telford and Birkenhead which caused “little damage,” said Chris Fox, the president of Association of Police Chief Officers.
He added that there was evidence of some verbal abuse directed at Muslims in the street, and some criminal damage to cars, businesses and homes.
The Muslim community is feeling increasingly concerned and vulnerable, a monitoring team from the association found, but it claimed there had been no upsurge in violence and abuse directed at minority groups. “There is no doubt that there will have been other low level incidents that have not yet been reported to police,” Fox said.
“We encourage everyone to report this type of obnoxious and dangerous behaviour, from whatever quarter, for full police investigation as we are determined that there will be a very robust enforcement response to it,” he said. The police presence in some areas would be boosted “wherever locally appropriate” to reassure all communities that they are being protected, he said.
Meanwhile, at least six Islamic centres in New Zealand have been vandalised and their walls painted with the message “Londoners RIP”, police said on Sunday following the deadly bombings in London claimed by Muslim militant groups.
In what appeared to be a co-ordinated series of attacks across Auckland, vandals smashed windows and doors and left variations of the same message in black paint on walls facing the street. Muslim leaders and political leaders condemned the attacks. New Zealand Federation of Islamic Associations president Javed Khan said it was the first time an attack on this scale had occurred against Muslims.
Prime Minister Helen Clark was also quick to condemn the attacks, saying it was wrong to target the Muslim community in New Zealand in retaliation for the terrorist attacks in London. afp