Police examining a suspicious item found in a Walsall mosque have confirmed they are treating the incident as a hate crime. A police spokesperson said an explosion was heard by residents on Friday evening. On Saturday, the item was discovered by a member of the public and handed into the police. Superintendent Keith Fraser, the head of crime and operations for Walsall Police, said the incident was being treated as hate crime but the motive for placing the item near a mosque remained unclear.
Army experts ordered the evacuation of nearly 40 homes near the Rutter Street mosque in Walsall, West Midlands Police said. “We have launched a full investigation into the suspicious item that has been found, and what’s going to be the key to this is the public’s help in relation to helping us to understand why that suspicious item was in the area. ”So if anybody saw anything over the weekend I’d like them to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 .”
Officials from Walsall Council are working closely with the emergency services to support local people and minimise disruption in the area. Zahid Ali, Cabinet Member for Public Protection at Walsall Council, also spoke outside the mosque. Describing the incident as “unfortunate”, Mr Ali added: “It’s absolutely wonderful to see that the communities have come together supporting the residents, and most of those residents are now back in their homes.”
Zia Ul-Haq, who acts as a spokesman for the mosque and also sits on its committee, said: “First of all can I thank the police force and the local council for really supporting us on this occasion.