Man arrested in Preston mosque graffiti probe

A man has been arrested and sectioned under the Mental Health Act following the daubing of racist graffiti on a Preston mosque.

Sunday, 21st April 2019, 10:13 am
Updated Sunday, 21st April 2019, 4:54 pm
The vandalised mosque. Part of the graffiti has been obscured

Police received three separate reports of graffiti of a racist and offensive nature written on a gatepost outside Masjid E Salaam Mosque on Watling Street Road between April 19 and today.

Officers have been making a number of enquiries throughout the weekend and have this afternoon arrested a man in connection with the investigation.

Lancashire Police said: "A 47 year old man from Preston has been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated criminal damage.

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"He has since been assessed and sectioned under the Mental Health Act."

The police investigation followed an initial report of hate crime on Friday April 19 when graffiti of a racist nature was found on the mosque in the same place.

The writing was removed and an investigation launched.

Chief Inspector Gary Crowe of Preston Police, said earlier: "I would like to reassure people, especially worshippers in the area, that we are taking this extremely seriously.

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“This is completely unacceptable, hateful vandalism and this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.

“We are working to get the most recent graffiti removed as quickly as possible and would like to thank the community for their support with our investigation so far.

“We will continue to maintain a presence in the area and are following up on forensic and CCTV enquiries.

“I would urge anyone with any information at all to speak to us as soon as possible.”

If you have any information please call 101 quoting log number 424 of 21st April.

The Light Foundation said in a statement: "This type of behaviour is unheard of in Preston, a peaceful and tolerant community, and has understandably created fear and anxiety.

"In a spirit of mutual co-operation, we would like to extend our hand - a further hand to what has already been extended by the brilliant, patient, resilient and compassion leadership team at Masjid-E-Salam - reaching out to those responsible for these recent and sustained attacks.

"If any of those, in which ever capacity are responsible for these messages, and are reading this - our humble request is to meet with you in a spirit of friendship and understanding, and to explore new ways of making our city even more enjoyable, diverse and peaceful to live in."