Police in Bolton are investigating after reports that four men believed to be of Eastern European descent dragged a 17-year-old Muslim girl into an alleyway and tried to force her to drink what was thought to be alcohol on November 11.
The shocking incident is said to have happened as the young woman was making her way from college to the madrasah [religious school] on Derby Street.
She was near to the junction of Derby Street and High Street when a man with light coloured hair and sporting a black baseball cap approached her and dragged her into a nearby car park.
She saw three other men waiting in the car park. The men then allegedly tried to make her drink from a Coca-cola bottle which the girl suspected contained alcohol. Fortunately a young man who witnessed the scene intervened and helped her escape.
The Bolton Council of Mosques (BMC) has issued advice to all local mosques, calling on people to be vigilant.
BMC Secretary, Imteyaz Ali, who is liaising with the girl’s family, told The Muslim News that the parents told him that their daughter was “shaken up”, “has lost confidence”, “she is broken and she is asking ‘Why am I not allowed to walk the streets without fear of being attacked?’”
The parents of the girl said they were “devastated”. “They expected their child to walk freely in our streets,” said Ali.
Ali added that “this sort of behaviour is not acceptable in the community.”
BMC has been in regular contact with the police and have been assured the force has increased its presence in the area.
Police have issued a description of the man who initially approached the young woman.
He is believed to be in his early 20s and is 5ft 6 inches tall and slim.
Detective Sergeant Dean Purtill, of Greater Manchester Police’s Bolton borough, said: “I understand that this incident will cause concern in the local community and officers are working to find the men responsible. The girl was obviously extremely distressed by the ordeal and I would urge anyone who was in the area at the time or has information that can help our investigation to come forward.”
Anybody with information should contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.