Graffiti vandals target mosque

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A Chorley mosque has been targeted by vandals who scrawled graffiti on the walls and wreaked havoc inside.

Members of the Muslim community discovered the mess at the Duwat Ul Islam Mosque, on Charnock Street, when they attended prayer at 5.30am on Saturday.

The president of Chorley Muslim Trust, Mr. Munshi, said damage included racist graffiti.

Shocked worshippers also found, locks and CCTV cameras sprayed with adhesive and several fire extinguishers had been set off inside the building.

He said: “I am very appalled and sad by this incident.

“This is a very serious racial attack.”

The offenders got inthrough a rear window.

The Chorley branch of English Defence League has contacted the police to distance its members from the attack.

Supt Richard Robertshaw said: “We are treating this as a serious incident.

“An investigation was immediately launched, and scenes of crime officers collected a number of items from the location.

“Inside the mosque, items were tipped over and there was graffiti on walls.

“We believe it was mindless vandalism, rather than a more sinister motive. I would like to reassure the community that we are doing everything we can to catch the culprits.

“We are looking at CCTV from the area.

“We believe the incident took place in the early hours of Saturday morning.”

The mosque opened in March 2006, and the incident is understood to be the first of its kind.

Coun Hasina Khan, who represents the Chorley East ward on Chorley Council, said: “The mosque has been broken into, and there’s some criminal damage there.

“It’s not a nice thing to happen to any community, and the people of Chorley east are very harmonious.

“This type of thing has never happened before, and hopefully it’s a one-off.”

An investigation is under way, and a 17-year-old Chorley boy, who was arrested on suspicion of burglary with intent to steal and cause racially/religiously aggravated criminal damage, has been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Anyone with information is asked to ring Chorley Police on 0845 1253545.