Police have opened an investigation into three acts of “religiously aggravated” vandalism in and around two mosques in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
Thames Valley Police say the “highly offensive Islamophobic” graffiti was sprayed on Zainabia Islamic Centre in Peverel Drive, Bletchley, between 10.30pm and 11pm on Saturday [September 24] and a shed to the side of the building was set alight and destroyed.
Detectives believe this incident is connected to two other acts of criminal damage at Jamia Al-Karam Masjid in North Street, New Bradwell, and on a white Mercedes Sprinter van in the nearby Harwood Street overnight between Saturday [September 24] and Sunday [September 25].
Offensive messages were sprayed in all the three locations. A worshipper at one of the mosques said the graffiti was “sexually explicit” with reference to “Allah”, while the vandalism on the van was racist in nature.
In a statement to The Muslim News Det Insp Richard North, investigating officer, said:
“I am appealing to anyone who was in the area around this time of these offences, or who has any information to contact my officers. Did you see anyone acting suspiciously near the mosques? Have you heard someone discussing this before or after Saturday night? These messages were highly offensive and designed to cause maximum upset to the Muslim community. We have increased our patrols in the areas and I would like to reassure everyone that we are doing all we can to catch those responsible.”
Members of the community believe the incidents may be connected with recent rise in far-right groups’ activity in the area.