Second attack on Muslim graves at Yorkshire cemetery

A suspected racist attack on Muslim graves at a Yorkshire cemetery has angered and traumatised relatives.

Vandals attacked at least 20 graves, uprooting or demolishing headstones and timber grave marker boards, at the multi-faith Harehills Cemetery in Leeds. Fencing around graves was ripped up and motorcycle tyre marks were left behind along with beer cans and bottles.

The attack, sometime between Friday and Saturday, is the second attack on Muslim graves in the cemetery this year.

Police were called on Saturday afternoon by tearful relatives who discovered the damage. One woman, Sophie Rashid, had only seen her mother buried two days earlier.

Council park wardens were called in to carry out security patrols over the weekend but families are now calling for CCTV cameras to be installed.

Ms Rashid, who discovered a wooden marker post had been torn up at her mother’s grave, said: “The damage is worse to some other graves. Someone appeared to have ridden a motorbike across graves and there were alcohol bottles and cans strewn about. It is really awful and very upsetting.”

Her uncle, Mohammed Ali said: “It is only Muslim graves which have been damaged, so we can only assume there is a racist element to it.”

Ikhlaq Mir, who arranges Muslim funerals at the cemetery, said that the site affected was a new Muslim section containing about 100 graves.

Yorkshire Post, 20 September 2010