A MAN has been charged with religiously aggravated criminal damage after five mosques in Birmingham were attacked in the wake of the Christchurch terror attack.
Arman Rezazadeh, from Handsworth, is accused of smashing windows at the mosques in March. He was previously detained under the Mental Health Act, but is now considered fit enough to be charged.
Rezazadeh is due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on September 12.
He faces five counts of religiously aggravated criminal damage – one charge for each of the affected mosques, in Perry Barr, Aston and Erdington.
Officers first received reports of vandalism at Al-Habib Trust in Birchfield Road in Aston at 2.32 am on March 21. They then attended a second attack at the Ghousia Mosque in Slade Road, Erdington, at 3.14 am. Police came across further damage to Witton Islamic Centre in Witton Road, Aston, and Masjid Madrassa Faizal Islam on Broadway in Perry Barr.
At 10.04am, officers responded to a smashed window at Jamia Mosque on Albert Road, Aston.
A spokesperson for Witton Islamic Centre said CCTV captured a man smashing windows at about 01:30. “The whole of the front windows, about six, were smashed,” he said. “Because of the force he used it’s gone through the windows and into the mosque itself”.
Investigators said the vandalism in Birmingham was not terror-related or motivated by right-wing extremism.
“West Midlands Police have conducted a thorough investigation and continue to work in partnership with mosques around the West Midlands to offer reassurance to our communities,” a spokesperson added.
At the time, then home secretary Sajid Javid called the vandalism “deeply concerning and distressing”. MP for Birmingham Ladywood Shabana Mahmood said the attacks were “truly terrible”.