Are Birmingham mosque attacks linked to Christchurch?
Counter-terrorism police investigating five incidents which the Muslim community claim are related to last week’s massacre in New Zealand
A Labour MP has warned that “hate is on the march” after five mosques in Birmingham were targeted in what appears to have been a coordinated attack that some claim was inspired by last week’s Christchurch massacre.
West Midlands police were first called to a mosque in the early hours of yesterday morning to find a man breaking windows with a sledgehammer.
Counter-terrorism police are now investigating four other mosques whose windows were smashed.
“While the West Midlands Police and Counter Terrorism Unit are yet to establish the motive, the terrified Muslim community in Birmingham is linking the vandalism to the terror attacks in New Zealand,” reports the Daily Mirror.
The investigation “comes at a time of heightened concern for the safety of Muslims in Western countries”, The Independent says.
West Midlands police chief constable, Dave Thompson, said: “Since the tragic events in Christchurch, New Zealand, officers and staff from West Midlands police have been working closely with our faith partners across the region to offer reassurance and support at mosques, churches and places of prayer.”
50 people lost their lives when a white supremacist opened fire at two mosques in New Zealand’s second city last Friday. The attack shocked the country and prompted the government to ban the sale of assault rifles. It has also provoked an outpouring of grief and messages of solidarity at mosques around the world.
In the UK, The Guardian reports “police have stepped up patrols around mosques nationwide”, while the Mirror reports that security will be further stepped up at the Birmingham mosques for Friday prayers following the attacks.
The attacks come just days after Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, announced that mosques are set to share in a multi-million pound government cash injection to boost security after the New Zealand terror attack.
He pledged cash to provide protective security at places of worship, including mosques, and said the money would double to £1.6million in the next year.
Javid also plans a new £5 million fund for security training, The Daily Telegraph reports, “after calls by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) for increased funding amid a rise in far-Right attacks in England, some of which are alleged to have been inspired by the killings of worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand last week.”