Minister: Mosque attacks ‘could happen in UK’

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: The New Zealand mosque attacks that left 50 worshippers dead could be replicated in the U.K., the British securities minister said on Monday.

Ben Wallace said such an attack “absolutely could happen” in the U.K. and that the government is considering to increase security funds for British mosques and Muslim communities across the country.

“In response to increased threat, we will increase and seek to change the funding around that [mosques] and that is why we do have the Places of Worship Scheme,” Wallace said.

“We will absolutely be looking at seeing whether that needs to be increased over the short and longer term,” he added.

The minister’s announcement was made following the stabbing of a young victim on Saturday by a 50-year-old suspect which the police are treating as an act of terrorism inspired by the far-right.

Wallace also said the government was increasingly concerned over the growth of far-right extremism in the U.K. and the rising number of people who are identifying with such an extreme ideology and mindset.

In a letter written to the government, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has asked for a long-term commitment to security funding in mosques and communities.

Harun Khan, head of the MCB, said a “palpable sense of fear” had surfaced among British Muslims in the aftermath of the New Zealand terror shootings of similar attacks hitting U.K. mosques which are open 7 days a week.

“This makes the risk of copycat attacks here in the U.K. a real possibility, especially in a climate where we are now fully appreciating the growth in the far right,” Khan said. According to research conducted by the Independent, far-right extremism is growing in the U.K. and white British people are more likely to sympathize with extremism than those of Asian Muslim descent. (AA)