Six people arrested after vandalism at Islamic Centre in Newcastle released on bail

The Bahr Academy has now been attacked twice in a matter of weeks.

Police are treating the ransacking of an Islamic Centre in Newcastle as a hate crime. Police were called to reports a group of teenagers had broken in to the Bahr Academy on Benwell Lane on Monday evening. Six people that were arrested have been released on bail.

Officers attended the Islamic Centre, which used to be the set for the TV show Byker Grove, and found significant damage had been caused.

There was substantial damage to the centre's exterior.
There was substantial damage to the centre’s exterior.

The centre suffered a break-in in January where racist graffiti was put on the walls. The offenders for that incident were never identified.

On this particular break-in copies of the Koran had been ripped up and left on the floor while windows had also been smashed.

Northumbria Police neighbourhood inspector Alan Davison confirmed the incident was being treated as a hate crime.

This is a very distressing incident for members of the Bahr Academy, particularly as it is the second break-in this year.

Although there is not the same racist graffiti as we saw in the first incident, we are treating this as a hate crime.

We are aware of the impact incidents of this nature can have on the community and I want to be clear that this type of behaviour is completely unacceptable.”

– NEIGHBOURHOOD INSPECTOR ALAN DAVISON, NORTHUMBRIA POLICE

Imam Muhammad Abdulmuheet said the damage would cost thousands to repair.
Imam Muhammad Abdulmuheet said the damage would cost thousands to repair.

Imam Muhammad Abdulmuheet said he expected the damage to the centre to cost thousands of pounds to repair, and that the recent events in New Zealand – where 50 Muslim worshippers were massacred in Mosque attacks – had made Muslims at the centre fear for their safety.

He said: “It (the attack) hurt everyone. It (the Koran) was torn everywhere, that really hurt us.

“We thought after Christchurch this (mosque attacks) is going to escalate and well this is it. At the moment the fear is there and it is going to remain. Something needs to be done to deter these things.”

Tables and chairs lie scattered after the ransacking
Tables and chairs lie scattered after the ransacking

Officers from Northumbria Police again visited the Bahr Academy on Tuesday and the force said it is working to put “further measures” in place to prevent similar incidents.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police.

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