Baitul Salam Mosque in Melbourne’s Langwarrin was allegedly vandalised over the weekend. Police have charged eight men for the alleged attack on the Mosque.
The police have said in a statement that so far there are no indications that the alleged attack was religiously motivated. According to the police, the alleged attack took place around 1:50 am on Sunday as intruders broke into the Mosque damaging property and riding bicycles through the prayer room.
Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Jason Wood visited the Mosque after the attack to check the vandalism and damage caused. He said in his Facebook post:
“After repeated attacks on the mosque, I call on anyone who has further information on the offences to contact Victoria Police. So far, 8 people have been arrested and charged with involvement in the attack.”
Ahmadiyyas are an Islamic sect with an estimated population of between 6000-8000 in Australia.
Local community leader Aziz Bhatti told the Herald Sun that the community is in shock and afraid. He mentioned that many Ahmadiyyas arrived in Australia as refugees after Pakistan declared Ahmadiyyas to be illegitimate Muslims and the community is no stranger to persecution. He added that they felt safe in Australia but this attack has sent a shockwave.
The Mosque’s CCTV footage shows the alleged attackers (a group of 12 men) entering the Mosque.
The eight men – one aged 62, two aged 18 and five aged 19 – who have been charged by the Frankston Crime Investigation Unit are set to appear before a magistrates court on 28th October.