Mosque in Scotland vandalized with racist graffiti, school forced children to pray in car park during Ramazan
LONDON: Police in Scotland are investigating an Islamophobic hate crime after racist and anti-Muslim comments were found spray-painted on the walls of a mosque Monday night.
The crime took place at the Elgin Islamic Centre in north Scotland around 11:00 p.m. A swastika symbol was sprayed on the walls as well as other racist and vulgar comments. Scottish police have described the incident as “completely unacceptable”.
“Well, of course we’re worried. I mean, if we don’t say that, then we must be fools,” Lansana Bangura, chairman of the mosque, told the BBC.
“We are worried. But at the same time, you know, you expect things like that to happen.”
“But I hope it will not happen very often.”
Bangura said reassuringly that such acts do not break the bonds that Scottish Muslims have built with their neighbors and that they have received support and backing from the non-Muslim community.
According to police, a white male between 30 and 40 years old with short brown hair was seen in the area at the time and they are searching for him as part of an investigation and have appealed to the public for information.
“Crimes of this nature are completely unacceptable. There is absolutely no place for it in our communities, and a number of inquiries are ongoing to establish who is responsible,” said Detective Inspector Martin MacDougall.
The inspector also reassured the Muslim community that they are in regular contact with the mosque and that police patrols in and around the area will be increased while the investigation proceeds.
“I appeal to anyone with information about this incident to contact the police as soon as possible, particularly anyone who was in the area last night and saw any suspicious activity or people. Thank you to those who have assisted with our inquiries already,” MacDougall added.
In a similar incident Tuesday in Essex, England, police are investigating a hate crime in which Islamophobic posters were put up on lamp posts that depicted a crusader on horseback chasing a pair of figures carrying AK-47s, including a burka-clad Muslim woman, with the caption “Islamists not welcome”.
“We are aware of stickers placed in various locations around Rayleigh displaying messages including ‘Islamists not welcome’.
We are keen to speak to those responsible for them to discuss their intent. We are treating this as a hate incident,” a spokeswoman for the Essex police told the Southend Standard newspaper.
The posters displayed a symbol representing the pan-European white nationalist group Generation Identity and also warned Muslims to “Stay back or we will kick you back”. Initially, police did not treat the posters as a hate crime. But after being contacted by local newspapers, they reversed their decision.
“It is both worrying and disappointing that anti-Islamic posters have been appearing.”
“This Islamophobia is fueled by ignorance, and it is likely that the people posting them have had little or no contact with any Muslim people in their own lives,” Ahmad Khwaja, a Muslim community leader in Essex, told the paper. (AA)