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‘I’m appalled’ - Bishop’s message of solidarity to mosque after arson attack

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:36 30 July 2020

The Bishop of Norwich the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: Diocese of Norwich

The Bishop of Norwich the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: Diocese of Norwich

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The Church of England most senior figure locally has shared a message of solidarity after an arson attack on the site of a city mosque.

Fire damage at the new mosque site in Aylsham Road Norwich. Picture: Simon ParkinFire damage at the new mosque site in Aylsham Road Norwich. Picture: Simon Parkin

Police launched an arson investigation after a blaze at a building on Aylsham Road in Norwich in the early hours of Monday morning.

The site, which was the former King Edward VII pub, is currently undergoing a £1m revamp by the East Anglian Bangladeshi Islamic Trust.

Police at the new mosque site in Aylsham Road Norwich. Picture: Simon ParkinPolice at the new mosque site in Aylsham Road Norwich. Picture: Simon Parkin

READ MORE: Police investigation after arson attack at Norwich mosque

A spokesman for the police said the fire damaged the outbuilding only, where a man was seen starting a fire before leaving the area.

Bishop of Norwich Rt Rev Graham Usher said he was “deeply saddened” by the attack and expressed interfaith solidarity.

Bishop Graham said: “I am deeply saddened to learn of the fire at Aylsham Road Mosque and I’m appalled that it was potentially started by arson. Norwich is known as a city of welcome.

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“If such a crime has been committed then we are all diminished. I stand with my Muslim brothers and sisters at this sad time and commit to building the common good alongside them”.

Reverend Martin Hartley and Rach Hartley, from St Catherine’s Church in Mile Cross, and vicar of St Luke’s, Reverend Sarah Quantrill, also on the Aylsham Road, said they were shocked an attack of this nature happened in Norwich.

They added: “We stand alongside our Muslim friends and neighbours at this time. This attack does not represent who we are as a people in Norwich. We pray that the mosque is quickly repaired and look forward to welcoming the Islamic community into the Aylsham Road area when renovations are complete”.

READ MORE: Former city pub to be used as temporary mosque

Planning permission was granted for the mosque at the former pub in December 2017 but the site had remained boarded up until recent months when work got under way on the redevelopment.

A new mosque is needed to accommodate the East Anglian Islamic Centre’s growing congregation of 250 people which is currently based on Rose Lane.

Witnesses should contact Sgt Steve Harrowing at Norwich North Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101 quoting crime reference 36/50641/20.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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