Redditch police say they suspect a recent arson attack on a local mosque was a hate crime.

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Fire-fighters tackled a small fire at the front door of the mosque on Jinnah Road, at about 10.20pm on January 24.

No one was injured and there was no major damage to the building, which is yet to be fully built. The boards covering the entrance to the mosque were set alight.

Police said they were treating the incident as arson.

An investigation is now underway and officers said the exact circumstances surrounding the fire were not yet known.

Police officers are appealing for any witnesses who may have been in the area at the time of the fire to come forward.

Redditch Local Policing Inspector Ian Joseph told The Muslim News: “When criminal damage is caused to religious premises our first thought is to consider if it was a racially or religiously motivated crime. While we have no evidence on this occasion, it is likely that this is the case.”

“The mosque on Jinnah Road is still being built and is some way from completion so damage was minimal. We are keen to see it being completed and brought into use as this should significantly reduce the risk of further incidents of this nature.

“We enjoy a close relationship with members of the mosque committee and have been offering security advice to them concerning the building. We have also been providing additional patrols in the vicinity of the mosque to deter further incidents.

“Anyone caught offending in this way will be dealt with accordingly and could face a prison sentence.”

Abdul Rahim, from the Redditch Mosque Trust, paid tribute to the way the police had dealt with incidents of vandalism over the 10-year life of the project.

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