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Nation special report

BIRMINGHAM:  In series of brutal attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, five mosques in Birmingham were attacked and Police are investigating after mosques in Birmingham had their windows smashed overnight.

Police were called at 2.32am on Thursday (21 March) to reports of a man smashing windows with a sledgehammer at the mosque on Birchfield Road. Officers arrived within minutes, but soon established that the attack had happened some time earlier.

At 3.14am, police were alerted to a similar attack at the mosque on Slade Road, Erdington. Police began patrols in areas with mosques and came across further damage at places of worship on Witton Road, Aston, and at Broadway, Perry Barr. 

Forensic officers are working to identify evidence, and CCTV is being examined.

Neighbourhood officers are carrying out proactive patrols and are working closely with mosques around the West Midlands today.

Additionally, at 10.04am today police were called to a mosque on Albert Road following reports that a window had just been smashed. At this stage, it is being treated as linked to the earlier incidents.

The motive behind the attacks, which are being treated as linked, is yet to be established but West Midlands Police and the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit are investigating.

West Midlands Police Chief Constable Dave Thompson 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. “At the moment we don’t know the motive for last night’s attacks.  

“What I can say is that the force and the Counter Terrorism Unit are working side-by-side to find whoever is responsible.

“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.”

West Midlands Police and Crime Commisioner David Jamieson said: “Attacks of this nature have no place in our community and will not be tolerated. I want to reassure people that West Midlands Police is doing all it can to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Anyone with information has been asked to contact police via Live Chat between 8am and midnight, via 101 any time, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A spokesperson for Witton Islamic Centre on Witton Road, Aston, said CCTV captures a man smashing windows at about 01:30.

“The whole of the front windows, about six, were smashed,” he said. “Because of the force he used it’s gone through the windows and into the mosque itself”.

Chief Constable of West Midlands Police Dave Thompson said: “At the moment we don’t know the motive for last night’s attacks. “What I can say is that the force and the Counter Terrorism Unit are working side-by-side to find whoever is responsible.”

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.