Gatwick mosque desecrated as 400 held Ramadan prayers inside
VANDALS desecrated a mosque with alcohol and obscene graffiti as around 400 people prayed inside.
The front and back doors of the Gatwick Bangladeshi Islamic Community Association headquarters were vandalised in the early hours of Sunday morning as the community held its night-time prayers to mark the month of Ramadan.
Worshippers emerged to find alcohol and eggs splattered over the back door, bottles and cans littering the street, a member's car parked nearby covered in flour, and an obscene word scrawled on the front door in permanent ink.
Association member Moynal Islam said: "We had to get it cleaned up; it was upsetting for our members to have that on the doors.
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"Everyone is angry, disappointed and upset, but there is nothing we can do. We never expected this."
Detectives from Surrey Police are investigating the attack, which was not caught on nearby CCTV due to the angle of the centre's front door. Association members had to sand the door down to remove the graffiti and will now install four new CCTV cameras to protect the centre they took over last September after more than a decade searching for a permanent home.
Horley Neighbourhood Sergeant Simon Ward, said: "This incident has deeply upset the Islamic community in Horley who have an excellent relationship with their neighbours and others in the town." Around 60 children attend daytime classes at the centre during Ramadan, and 400 worshippers attend the prayer meetings held twice during the night.
Shop owners and residents in the town are disappointed at the attack.
Andy Parr, of The Party Pad in High Street, said: "I am shocked. I hope they wouldn't think everyone in Horley is like that because of one malicious person. There is no need for it and I don't think there is any reason or place for that in this town. I am outraged."
Charles Medicott, of Motor Budget Centre in Yattendon Road, added: "There is always someone that does something like that."
Despite the incident, the association is happy with its new place in the heart of the town.
Mr Islam said: "A lot of people say after 12 years it is nice to be able to sit in your own home. The anger is because it was all going so nicely."
Contact Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference RB/12/6354 with information on the attack.