Vandals desecrated Muslim graves in Chadderton Cemetery near Oldham in Greater Manchester. Ten graves were vandalised, with headstones dug up and decorations destroyed, according to the Manchester Evening News:
“Wooden grave markers and headstones were uprooted from four adjoining graves, one of which had a brass plaque ripped from the headstone itself.”
“A further two large floral tributes on other graves were smashed, trampled on and the flowers scattered across the other, while flowers on up to four other graves were also kicked over. There was also some evidence to suggest someone had walked directly over a recent grave.”
Police were alerted to the incident by the “distraught loved one of a woman buried within the Muslim section of the cemetery,” according to ITV News. The incident after 8:30pm on the 15th of August and was reported in the evening on Saturday the 16th. According to Sgt. John Martin with the Greater Manchester Police, “the exact motive for this heinous and senseless vandalism is unclear, but given that only the Muslim section of the cemetery was targeted it has to be treated as being racially motivated.”
Greater Manchester Police are taking this incident very seriously but do not currently have any suspects nor have any witnesses turned up. They are currently appealing to the community, but to ensure security in the short term, a Senior Press Officer assured TELL MAMA that extra patrols would be sent to the area to prevent any further vandalism and to assist local community members distressed by the crime.
Sgt. Martin stressed, “the distress this has caused to the families who have loved ones buried here is immeasurable. It is not just the vandalism itself, which can be repaired, but the thought of someone trashing what should be a place of sanctity and tranquility for those who have lost their lives purely because of their religion.”
“We need to find the culprits, who may very well live the local area, so I am appealing to the community for help in identifying them.”
Greater Manchester Police encourages anyone with information to call police on 0161 856 68814, 0161 856 8915 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.