Mosque in Scotland vandalised

31st May 2019
Mosque in Scotland vandalised

(Photo courtesy of Mustapha Akoub)

Ahmed J Versi

Police are investigating an Islamophobic hate crime after racist and derogatory anti-Islamic graffiti was sprayed on the walls and windows of a mosque in Scotland on the night of May 20. Elsewhere in Essex, Islamophobic posters were pasted on lamp posts.

The graffiti was sprayed at the Elgin Mosque [Elgin Islamic Centre] in north Scotland around 11 p.m. A swastika symbol was sprayed on the walls as well as other Islamophobic comments. Scottish police have described the incident as “completely unacceptable.”

A spokesman for the Mosque said the Mosque was “subject to a vile act of vandalism with racist graffiti on the windows, front wall and the mosque’s sign. “Worshippers were shocked to see such hateful act as they were going into the mosque in this holy month of Ramadan .”

Anas Sarwar, Member of the Scottish Parliament, who has ties with the mosque condemned the attack. “This is yet another deeply sad hate crime against another place of worship,” Sarwar told The Muslim News.

The Chair of Cross-Party Group on tackling Islamophobia said the mosque was “well-known to me as my mother is from a neighbouring town and I spent most of my summers and easters growing up in Elgin.”

Sarwar’s uncle was a founding member of the mosque, and his grandmother’s funeral took place at this mosque. “I send love and solidarity to the community of Elgin. We must recognise rising prejudice and hate in our society and come together to challenge it because this is a fight for all of us.” Forres Community Council urged anyone with “any information to come forward.”

Moray Council had given permission for its former offices Street to be sold to the Jamia Islamic Centre Trust Fund in June 2014. The trust’s Chair Lansana Bangura said then that the mosque would be “a focal point for Moray’s Islamic community, it will be open for everybody to come and look around. “We want people to make up their own minds rather than rely on what they’re being told by others.

“I come from Sierra Leone where Christians and Muslims live side by side and there has never been any trouble between the religions.”

Police are appealing for information on the whereabouts of a white male between 30 and 40 years old with short brown hair seen in the area at the time.

“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.

Essex Police initially did not consider this as a hate crime, but later they agreed that it was a hate incident. In a similar incident on May 21, in Raleigh, Essex, Islamophobic posters were stuck on lamp posts around the village that depicted a crusader on horseback chasing a pair of figures carrying AK-47s, including a burqa-clad Muslim woman, with the caption “Islamists not welcome.”

A police spokesman said 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.”

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