Police in a northern English city have opened an investigation into repeated Islamophobic attacks on a major mosque in the past few days.
Police said on Saturday it had received three reports of hate attacks on the Masjid-e-Salaam mosque in Preston, Lancashire, over the past three days, adding that vandals had sprayed graffiti on the gatepost of the mosque to disrespect Muslim worshippers.
“There have now been three reports in a matter of days and this is understandably causing a lot of upset and concern in the local community,” said Chief Inspector Gary Crowe, adding, “I would like to reassure people, especially worshipers in the area, that we are taking this extremely seriously.”
Images published on the social media by the mosque authorities showed the attackers had spray painted offensive slurs on the gatepost to insult Muslims.
The last attack came on Saturday at 10:45 pm after the first two graffiti messages, sprayed between Thursday and Friday, had been removed.
Police officers were deployed to the area to prevent further attacks while authorities urged everyone with information to come forward.
Authorities said on Sunday that a 47-year-old man, from Preston, had been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack.
The attacks come amid a surge in hate crimes against Muslims in Britain. They took place nearly a month after an Australian white supremacist, who had claimed to be inspired by Islamophobes in Britain, massacred 50 Muslims in two mosques in the city of Christchurch in New Zealand.
Representatives of Islamic communities in the UK believe certain politicians and some media outlets should be blamed for increased hate crimes against the Muslims in the country. They cite comments by notable political figures which have encouraged attacks on Muslims in the UK, saying the rhetoric is meant to please supporters of far-right, nationalist groups amid a national debate on leaving the European Union.