Arson attack on mosque attended by Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi

British police are investigating the incident as a hate crime

Police officers stand on duty outside a Didsbury Mosque in Didsbury, Manchester, northwest England, on May 24, 2017, as investigations continue into the May 22 terror attack at the Manchester Arena.
Police on Tuesday named Salman Abedi -- reportedly British-born of Libyan descent -- as the suspect behind a suicide bombing that ripped into young fans at an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, as the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the carnage. Abedi's family are said to heve been closely linked to the Didsbury Mosque, a Victorian former Methodist chapel in a leafy suburb that was bought in 1967 by donors from the Syrian community. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF

UK police are treating an arson attack on a mosque once attended by the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi and his family as a hate crime.

Didsbury Mosque, in Manchester, which has previously received arson threats, was set on fire late on Friday night.

Mosque leaders have praised neighbours who put out the flames with their coats.

"If it was not for the actions of two of our amazing neighbours on Burton Road, who saw the flames and put them out with their coats, we hate to think what could have happened," they said.

"We cannot thank them enough."

No one was injured in the blaze, which was attended by crews from the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service for more than two hours.

The mosque has released CCTV footage of the incident and is urging the community to stay vigilant.

"Please do not let hate divide us or win," it said.

On Saturday, the community held a Stand Up to Racism vigil outside the mosque.

Deputy leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, condemned the attack.

"This is a despicable act designed to create fear and hatred," he said.

"Manchester has consistently shown it is a city that stands together and will not allow extremists to divide us.

"I commend the neighbours who raised the alarm - they, not the cowards responsible for this arson - are the true spirit of this city."

The mosque was previously under scrutiny after it was revealed that suicide bomber Abedi and his family had attended it.

Abedi killed 22 people when he detonated a suicide bomb at the end of an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.

His younger brother, Hashem Abedi, was convicted last year on 22 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and one count of conspiracy to cause an explosion.

He was sentenced to a minimum 55 years in jail.

Updated: September 11th 2021, 4:57 PM
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