Didsbury Mosque: Police investigate fire as hate crime

media captionCCTV footage showing a hooded figure has been released by Didsbury Mosque

An arson attack at a Manchester mosque is being investigated as a hate crime, police have said.

No-one was injured in the blaze, late on Friday night, at Didsbury Mosque in Burton Road, officers said.

Mosque leaders said they were "so grateful" to neighbours who tried to put it out with their coats.

They added that they had received threats to burn the mosque "for a couple of years, but now the attempt has come".

"If it was not for the actions of two of our amazing neighbours on Burton Road, who saw the flames and put them out with their coats, we hate to think what could have happened," they said.

"We cannot thank them enough."

image source, Didsbury Mosque
image captionThe fire was quickly extinguished after it caused minor damage

Greater Manchester Fire Service said they were at the scene for more than two hours and were conducting an investigation with police.

Manchester City Council deputy leader Luthfur Rahman said the fire was "a despicable act designed to create fear and hatred".

"I commend the neighbours who raised the alarm - they, not the cowards responsible for this arson, are the true spirit of this city."

The mosque, which has released CCTV footage of the attack, asked the local community to "stay vigilant", adding: "Please do not let hate divide us or win."

image source, Getty Images
image captionNo-one was injured in the blaze at Didsbury Mosque

It has previously been under scrutiny after it was identified as one of the mosques attended by the Manchester Arena attack bomber Salman Abedi and his family.

Abedi killed 22 people when he detonated a suicide bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in 2017.

After the attack, a mosque trustee said the 22-year-old was known as a loner and admitted it had "a lot to learn" in engaging with young people.

Since then, the mosque has been praised for its community work including helping in the aftermath of last winter's floods.

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