Police investigate arson attack on Didsbury mosque as a hate crime

Greater Manchester fire service called to the blaze on Saturday night, which caused minor damage to the door

Police are investigating an arson attack on a mosque in Greater Manchester as a hate crime.

Officers were called to a report of a fire at Didsbury mosque, which is on the junction of Barlow Moor Road and Burton Road, just after midnight on Saturday.

No one was injured in the blaze, which caused minor damage to the mosque’s door. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said they were at the scene for more than two hours, conducting a joint investigation with police.

Two people walking past attempted to put out the fire with their coats, according to a post on the mosque’s Facebook page, which added: “We are so grateful to them and from our hearts ‘Thank you’.”

An admin officer for the mosque, Tracey Pook, told the Manchester Evening News that she “can never thank them enough”. She told the newspaper: “Hate has no place in our society … We are not going to let hate win – we are going to carry on as normal, we are going to carry on doing our projects and doing good for our community. That’s Islam – be good and show the goodness.”

Insp Shoheb Chowdhury from Greater Manchester police’s south Manchester district said: “This is a dreadful incident which will no doubt have caused concern in the community and we are doing all we can to find who was responsible and continue to engage the mosque and those concerned in the community.

“Detectives have been carrying out inquiries and have already seized CCTV and items from the scene as part of the investigation. Our officers will be in and around the area today and anyone concerned can speak to officers, who will address any concerns.

“Hate crime will not be tolerated. We’re fortunate in that Greater Manchester is a diverse place that our communities call home and those who wish to commit a crime motivated by hate will be brought to justice.

“We believe there were several vehicles that may have driven past at the time and would ask anyone who may have any dashcam footage to get in touch.”

Afzal Khan, the MP for Manchester Gorton, tweeted: “Shocked to hear of the attempted arson at Didsbury mosque last night. Solidarity with our brothers and sisters there. Islamophobic attacks against mosques are on the rise.” He asked people to “stay vigilant” and report incidents to GMP and Tell Mama, a charity supporting victims of anti-Muslim hate.

Anyone with any information is asked to report it online or by using the GMP’s LiveChat service on their website, or by calling 0161 856 4973. Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Clea Skopeliti

The GuardianTramp

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