Windows smashed at fifth Birmingham mosque

Police are investigating reports of vandalism at a fifth mosque in Birmingham after pictures were circulated on social media of smashed windows at the Mosque and Muslim Community Centre Aston.

An investigation involving counter-terrorism officers was launched on Thursday morning after four mosques had their windows broken with a sledgehammer overnight.

Officers were called at 2.32am on Thursday after reports of an attack on a mosque in Birchfield Road in Birmingham, West Midlands Police said.

Officers also attended a second mosque attack in Slade Road, Erdington, at 3.14am.

Patrols then started in areas with mosques and officers came across further damage in Witton Road, Aston, and on Broadway in Perry Barr.

The force said forensic officers are working to identify evidence and CCTV is being examined.

Local councillors condemned the incidents on social media as “shocking” and disturbing”.

Labour councillor Jayne Francis tweeted: “Really disturbing to learn of Birmingham mosques being subject to attack. This city is built on tolerance and mutual respect – let’s not lose sight of that.”

And Birmingham City Council cabinet member Waseem Jaffar wrote: “Deeply shocking and concerning to learn about the attacks on Masjid’s (sic) in neighbouring Aston and Erdington neighbourhoods…

“We will not let a very small minority divide our neighbourhood, the city and society and will fight back against any hate and division with love, peace and harmony.”

Footage posted online by councillor Majid Mahmood showed large holes in every ground-level window on the front of the Witton Road Islamic Centre in the north of the city.

Local community members in Islamic dress swept the broken glass from the pavement as the sun rose on Thursday.

Neighbourhood officers are working closely with mosques around the West Midlands, police said.

The attacks are being treated as linked and West Midlands Police and West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit are yet to establish a motive.

West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: “Since the tragic events in Christchurch, New Zealand, officers and staff from West Midlands Police have been working closely with our faith partners across the region to offer reassurance and support at mosques, churches and places of prayer.

“At the moment we don’t know the motive for last night’s attacks.

“What I can say is that the force and the Counter Terrorism Unit are working side by side to find whoever is responsible.”

Mr Thompson added: “At difficult times like this, it is incredibly important that everyone unites against those who seek to create discord, uncertainty and fear in our communities.”

The force has asked anyone with information to come forward.

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