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Man convicted of attack on Exeter mosque

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Man convicted of attack on Exeter mosque
08/09/02 at 04:33:04
Tuesday August 6, 06:50 PM
LONDON (Reuters) - A security guard has been convicted for taking part in an attack on a
mosque just two days after the September 11 assaults on the United States, police said.

Christopher Williams, 37, was found guilty at Exeter Magistrates Court on Tuesday on two
charges of criminal damage for his involvement in an attack on the Islamic Centre in the
city in southwest England.

A large increase in assaults on Muslims in Britain was reported in the months following
September 11 last year as the United States blamed the al Qaeda network led by Saudi-born
Islamic militant Osama bin Laden for the attacks.

Exeter police said eight pigs' heads and fake blood were dumped in the Islamic Centre's
car park. Eating pork is forbidden in Islam.

A banner was also found saying "The blood of American children is on your hands" and a
notice pinned to a door at the mosque read: "This is the start of the end for all Osama bin
Laden supporters."

Williams pleaded not guilty, denying any involvement. Three men were spotted at the scene
but the two others have not been identified.

The court adjourned for sentencing on September 5.

Exeter police said in a statement: "The police worked very closely with the Muslim
community, knowing that they were living in fear following the events of September 11."

"It would have been a very cruel attack at any time but more so because of the events in
America," the statement added.

"This is good news for the British Muslim community," Inayat Bungalawala of the Muslim
Council of Britain told Reuters.

"We hope it will send a signal that it's important that holy places of worship are
protected," he added.

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