Call for community calm amid controlled explosion at mosque

The Kanz Ul Iman Masjid mosque. Picture: Reuters
The Kanz Ul Iman Masjid mosque. Picture: Reuters
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POLICE investigating a nail bomb attack at a mosque carried out a controlled explosion on part of the device, West Midlands Police said yesterday.

The Kanz Ul Iman Masjid mosque in Tipton, West Midlands, was attacked on Friday, but no-one was injured.

Yesterday, a force spokesman said: “Officers have found what appears to be a potential small component part of the device in a back garden of one of the properties.”

For safety reasons, the item could not be moved, so specialist army bomb disposal officers carried out a small controlled explosion at the scene to make the item safe.

Community leaders and 
police also appealed for calm and unity. Police launched a counter-terrorism investigation after the explosion, which officers said was designed to cause “serious harm”.

As forensics investigators and detectives began to piece the puzzle together, police and religious leaders urged residents to stick together regardless of beliefs and backgrounds.

Ghulam Rasool, a local imam, implored community members not to let inter-faith relations be undermined.

Saying the incident would not change residents’ attitudes or beliefs, he said everyone believed in shared values such as freedom of speech and religious expression.

“The people of Tipton and Sandwell will not succumb to disharmony,” he said.

Chief superintendent Mark Robinson asked residents to remain patient and calm as officers conducted their investigation, which he warned would be lengthy.

He said members of the various faiths were determined to show solidarity. “They are determined to carry on – it’s business as usual,” he said.

The remains of a homemade explosive device were found on 22 June in an alleyway adjoining the Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre in Rutter Street.

The earlier incident, in which no-one was injured, forced the overnight evacuation of about 150 people from their homes in the surrounding area.

Speaking at the scene of the Tipton incident yesterday, Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Cann said he was unaware of any specific links to last month’s blast at a mosque in Walsall.

A combination of factors taken together had led officers to treat the incident as an act of terrorism, including the presence of nails and the location of the incident.

The senior officer said: “I can’t say for certain that it was definitely directed at the mosque, but that seems to be the most likely explanation.”