New Zealand attack: Police to increase patrols at UK mosques after wave of incidents following Christchurch shootings

Colin Drury
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New Zealand attack: Police to increase patrols at UK mosques after wave of incidents following Christchurch shootings

A week after the Christchurch terror attack, police in the UK are set to step up patrols for Friday prayers at Islamic centres across the country.

The heightened security is designed to reassure worshippers feeling vulnerable in the wake of the massacre in which 50 people were shot dead at two mosques in New Zealand.

Commander Mark McEwan, of the Metropolitan Police, said: “This approach will continue tomorrow as well as over the week ahead with policing tailored in response to local community concerns and needs. This has specifically taken into account Friday prayers and vigils in response to the attack in New Zealand.”

The increased patrols also come in response to a spate of Islamophobia assaults and vandalism in this country. In Birmingham, five mosques had their windows smashed by a man wielding a sledgehammer in the early hours of Thursday.

In East London, a 27-year-old worshipper was attacked by three men with a hammer or baton just minutes after leaving a mosque last Friday.

Meanwhile, two people were charged after reports that a taxi driver in Rochdale was abused and threatened by a couple referencing the terror attack, and far-right symbols were spray-painted near a school in Oxford.

The redoubled security efforts were welcomed by the Muslim Council of Britain.

Spokesman Miqdaad Versi said they were “very reassuring”, adding: “We’ve seen a number of cases over the last week of actions targetting Muslims.”

Farooq Aftab, a spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, stressed the need to be alert to danger.

“We have heard what’s going on in Birmingham, and we have to be on our guard and we have to be vigilant,” he said.