Police are hunting racist thugs who broke into a mosque in the early hours of this morning and scrawled Nazi SWASTIKAS on the walls and windows.
The graffiti was spotted at Redditch Central Mosque in Worcestershire by officers who were investigating reports of a break-in at the place of worship at 4.30am.
Between 2am and 4.30am yobs broke into the site, which is under construction, by forcing a gate before using paint from a builders’ cabin to spray racist graffiti on walls and six windows.
Police were guarding the mosque in Jinnah Road in Redditch yesterday as forensic examinations continued.
It is not yet known if anything was stolen during the break-in.
Superintendent Kevin Purcell, from West Mercia Police, said: “For as long as I can remember the relationship between the Muslim community in Redditch, the Police and the wider community would best be described as excellent.
“Due to incidents happening nationally targeted patrols have been put in place and these will now be further increased as we will not tolerate mindless attacks of this nature.
“I will be arranging meetings with the chairs of the mosques, local civic leaders and the Independent Advisory Group to reassure them of our commitment and determination to do everything possible to prevent any further such incidents and track down those responsible for this attack.”
The racist graffiti is not the first time the mosque has been targeted – after an arson attack caused £3,000 of damage in July 2006.
Arsonists were also blamed for another fire – which was set at the front door of the mosque in January 2012.
No one was injured and there was no major damage to the building in the 2012 attack but police treated both incidents as arson.
The chairman of Redditch Central Mosque said there was so much graffiti it was like the thugs had “gone through the racist handbook”.
Six windows of the mosque were daubed in blue paint with the initials ‘EDL’, ‘KKK’ and ‘NF’ (National Front) as well as crudely-drawn swastikas.
Yobs also scrawled the word ‘Paki’ on the walls of the prayer room.
Speaking outside the #2.5 million mosque, which is due to open later this year with a capacity for 1,400 worshippers, Chairman Rafaqat Hussain, 41, vowed not to be intimidated by the attackers.
He said: “To be honest I think whoever had done this has done it to cause fear and problems in the community.
“It looks like it was a break-in and then obviously they broke into the mosque and put unto the walls and windows some quite disturbing racist remarks.
“There are quite a few racist slogans on there like EDL and Paki and KKK and the swastikas.
“It’s like they’ve gone through the racist’s handbook.
“Fortunately nobody was hurt or in at the time because it is a building site and is still under construction.
“But Redditch is a very tight community, we have never had problems like this so hopefully we will get over this and the work’s not going to stop.
“The police have done a wonderful job and it was them who spotted it.
“The community is all here cleaning up and helping us. We’ve got people from the council and local police officers helping.
“It doesn’t matter what religion, we are all one community.”
Mr Hussain said the majority of the racist graffiti was on the walls and windows of what will become the main prayer room on the ground floor.
The attack comes just five days after detectives in Walsall, West Mids., launched a major hate-crime investigation when a small home-made bomb exploded near a mosque.
Around 150 people were evacuated from their homes in the Caldmore area of the town on Saturday night while bomb disposal experts made the device safe.
West Midlands Police said a loud bang heard by residents late on Friday “appeared to be consistent” with the device exploding. No one was injured and it caused minimal damage.
The remains of the device were found in an alleyway adjoining the Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre in Rutter Street on Saturday by a local man who took them home and showed them to his wife.
The mosque’s imam also took them home later before anyone realised their significance.
Both incidents happened in the wake of a number of similar instances at mosques following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south east London on May 22.
Last week two men were charged in relation to an alleged arson at a mosque in Gloucester, and an Islamic cultural centre in Grimsby was hit by petrol bombs last month.
Mosques in Braintree, Essex, and Gillingham, Kent, have also been targeted.