Police investigate 9/11 fire at airport prayer room

Police say they are “keeping an open mind” about a suspected arson attack at an Islamic prayer room at Manchester Airport.

The cabin is used by taxi drivers and airport staff for worship. The blaze broke out on Saturday – the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on New York’s Twin Towers. Detectives say they are investigating whether there was a religious or racial motive to the blaze.

Two ceremonial garments inside the room were deliberately set ablaze between 10pm and midnight, although the building itself was not damaged. Officers have studied the charred textiles for clues and are reviewing CCTV footage from the scene.

Supt David Hull, police commander at Manchester Airport, said the blaze could have injured or killed people working nearby if it had spread

He said: “Had the fire taken hold, the damage caused would have been significantly worse. We are keeping an open mind about the motive and have been working closely with those who use the facility to address any concerns they have and to reassure them that we are treating this very seriously and are doing all we can to identify the person responsible.”

Manchester Evening News, 15 September 2011