Hamilton, New Zealand: Man arrested over racial abuse and assault at mosque

Hamilton police are praising worshippers at a city mosque who, despite being subject to alleged physical assault and racial abuse, showed restraint and helped facilitate the arrest of a suspect.

City Area Commander, Inspector Greg Nicholls, says police were called to the mosque on the corner of Heaphy Tce and Boundary Rd shortly before 1am. Members of the Islamic community were at the mosque cleaning it in preparation for morning prayers when they became subject to a tirade of racial abuse, Mr Nicholls says.

He says the victims wisely chose to ignore the abuse, however the intoxicated offender climbed a fence, entered the mosque’s grounds and allegedly assaulted one man and spat and swore at others. Instead of retaliating, the victims phoned 111 and police found the suspect at a park across the street, Mr Nicholls says.

After the 48-year-old was arrested and handcuffed his behaviour allegedly deteriorated further. “Despite being handcuffed the man hadn’t lost his will to resist and the attending patrol car bore the brunt of his anger with the man smashing the rear windscreen when he head butted the car,” Mr Nicholls says. Taken back to the station for medical treatment the man now faces three assault charges and two of intentional damage.

Mr Nicholls says the response by the victims in this case was exactly what police would ask. “Don’t take matters into your own hands but ring us and allow those trained to deal with such situations manage the issue,” he says.

TVNZ, 14 March 2014