Five mosques in the British city of Birmingham were attacked and vandalised on Wednesday (March 20) night, with a sledgehammer, prompting counter-terrorism police to launch an investigation.
A man reportedly smashed the windows of a mosque overnight. The five mosques which were attacked are on Albert Road, Birchfield Road, Slade Road, Broadway and Witton Road in the city. The mosque's imam says that the attack took place between 1.30 am and 2 am but when officers arrived at the scene they discovered the attack had taken place sometime earlier.
Forensic officers are working to identify evidence and CCTV footages are being examined. Patrols were stepped up across the city and officers discovered further damage at places of worship in other parts of the city.
Councilor Majid Mahmood described the attacks on Twitter as "disgusting" and said that Muslims were "afraid after the terrorist attacks in Christchurch" last week. Mahmood posted a video on Twitter which showed a clean-up operation is in progress.
This is the Slade Road mosque in Erdington that was attacked last night. All the broken windows have been boarded up— Cllr Majid Mahmood ? (@CllrMajid) March 21, 2019
In total 5 mosques were attacked with the offenders using sledgehammers
The Muslim community is fearful of more attacks, and we need @WMPolice to step up patrols pic.twitter.com/caogRsoeEy
Taking to Twitter, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said, "Deeply concerning & distressing to see the number of mosques have been vandalised in Birmingham overnight. @WMPolice are investigating motive but let me be clear - hateful behaviour has absolutely no place in our society & will never be accepted."
Adil Parker, from the Birmingham Council of Mosques, told Sky News he was "appalled" by the attacks, but not "surprised" they had taken place. West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson expressed shock over the attack and noted that officers are working closely with religious leaders. Though the motive behind the attacks remains unknown, West Midlands Police said it is believed they are linked.