Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds mosque and gurdwara arsons treated as hate crimes

Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira Mosque
Image caption The attacks took place at about the same time in the early hours of Tuesday

Arson attacks on two places of worship in Leeds are being treated as associated hate crimes by police.

The Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira Mosque in Hardy Street, Beeston, was attacked, along with the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Gurdwara in Lady Pit Lane.

West Yorkshire Police were called to the mosque at about 03:45 BST where the main door had been set alight.

The front door of the gurdwara was set on fire at about the same time, but was put out before it spread.

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Det Insp Richard Holmes said: "We are treating both these incidents as linked given the closeness of the locations and the similar times that they have occurred.

Image caption Police are examining the area and have stepped up patrols

"While our investigation is still at a relatively early stage, we do believe these premises have been specifically targeted as places of worship and we are treating both incidents as arsons and hate crimes.

"We are currently carrying out extensive enquiries, including checks on CCTV in both areas, and we would like to hear from anyone who has witnessed any suspicious activity or seen any person or vehicles in the areas around the time these incidents have occurred."

Police said patrols had been increased in the area.

Nadeem Murtuja, interim director of Just Yorkshire which promotes racial justice, human rights and equality, said such "acts of hate" were worrying.

"Mosques, gurdwaras and other places of worship repeatedly open doors to people of faith, no faith and all diversities to improve understanding, yet despite these positive actions, hate crimes continue to rise and the police continue to provide support and assurance," he said.

"Despite all of our concerted approaches there seems to be no sign of this rise in hate crime abating."

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