Tyne & Wear

Newcastle Islamic school leaders 'reach out' to vandals

Vandal attack Image copyright Bahr Academy
Image caption The prayer area was targeted in an overnight attack between Thursday and Friday

Leaders of an Islamic education centre that was vandalised have said they do not want to punish those responsible.

Users of the Bahr Academy in Newcastle would like to talk to the perpetrators about acceptance.

Graffiti was scrawled on walls, furniture overturned and copies of the Koran thrown on to the floor.

The centre's trustees said they wanted those involved to come to get to know its members, as talking could prevent further attacks.

Muhammad Abdulmuheet said he was shocked when he saw the damage, which included a swastika on one of the walls.

"I thought we'd moved away from that. What are they trying to say?," he said.

Image caption Muhammad Abdulmuheet said support from the local community since the attack had been overwhelming

"We want to say to them, whoever they are, come and speak to us, we want to inform you that we are not really what you might have thought we are," Mr Abdulmuheet said.

"We want to speak to you, so you can find out what we are about and teach you what Islam actually says, so you have a correct understanding of what we are trying to do in these places."

Northumbria Police has said the attack, which happened between Thursday night and Friday morning, was being treated as a hate crime and appealed for information.

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