Four mosques in the English city of Birmingham were damaged overnight, police said on Thursday, in the latest in a spate of Islamophobic attacks in Britain since the murder of 50 people by a white supremacist at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
West Midlands Police said detectives and counterterrorism officers are investigating after windows were smashed at four mosques in Birmingham.
The force said in a statement the incidents “are being treated as linked”.
Officers responded after reports in the early hours of Thursday of a man seen shattering windows with a sledgehammer at one mosque, the police said.
“Neighbourhood officers are working closely with mosques around the West Midlands today,” the force 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,” West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson said in a statement.
“At the moment we don’t know the motive for last night’s attacks,” 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,” he said.
Forensics experts are working to identify evidence at the scenes of the four attacks, while CCTV is also being examined.
Shabana Mahmood, a member of parliament for Birmingham, said the reported attacks were “truly terrible.” “I would urge all residents to remain calm and call [the police] with any info you may have,” Mahmood tweeted.
A statement from the Birmingham Council of Mosques said: “We were deeply horrified to hear a number of mosques were vandalised during the early hours of this morning.
“Birmingham’s mosques are a place of worship, serenity and a source of peace and tranquillity. We are appalled by such acts of hate/terror.”
Al Jazeera and news agencies