'Vile' bacon sandwich attack on Bristol mosque condemned

image captionBacon sandwiches were thrown and abuse was shouted as people were going in to pray

An attack on a Bristol mosque in which bacon sandwiches were thrown at the door and abuse was shouted at worshippers has been condemned as "vile" by the city's mayor.

A spokesman for the Jamia Mosque, Totterdown said four people put a St George's flag, with "no mosques" written on it, on the fence on Sunday.

Police have arrested a man on suspicion of committing a hate crime.

Mayor George Ferguson tweeted he was "disgusted" by the "cowardly attack".

Spokesman Zaheer Shabir blamed a "misguided group" of people for trying to "crack" community ties in the area.

"Our mosque community is very saddened by this vile incident but remains calm and of course, resilient," he said.

'Sick to stomach'

He added that they were grateful for the outpouring of "positive messages, flowers and support" from the community and those condemning the attack on social media.

image captionA sympathy card left on the steps of the mosque reads: "We hope recent events don't make you feel unwelcome as the mosque is a great part of our community"

The mosque was the first in Bristol and is the largest currently in the south west of England.

Joanna Harvey wrote on the BS3 Connect page on Facebook: "I can't believe this has happened. I live on the same road as the mosque and feel sick to the stomach."

image captionFlowers were left on the mosque steps

Robert Massey called it a "horrible attack" and said it was "not representative of the overwhelming majority of the residents of BS3".

Rizwan Ahmed, who is a chaplain at the University of Bristol and part of the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society, said he was "shell-shocked" by the attack.

'Abhorrent actions'

It's surprising that it's happened in Bristol because we're very socially cohesive," he said.

"What's shocking is the bravado and the way it was done - it's quite scary and will upset a lot of people from the community."

Avon and Somerset Police said a 34-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident.

A spokesman said it was believed two men and two women were involved, and police said they wanted to identify a man and a woman captured on CCTV.

image copyrightAvon and Somerset Police
image captionPolice said they wanted to identify a man and a woman seen in CCTV footage

Ch Insp Kevan Rowlands said: "Behaviour of this kind is totally unacceptable.

"Our communities have the right to live and worship peacefully without fear of being targeted for their race or religion.

"We take all hate crime incidents extremely seriously and we are working closely with the mosque to ensure the offenders are held to account for their abhorrent actions."

"If anyone recognises the man and woman in the CCTV images, please call in with this information as soon as possible."

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