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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 July, 2005, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Mosque blaze is treated as arson
Wirral Islamic Cultural Centre
One man was treated for smoke inhalation
A fire that broke out at a mosque in Wirral is being treated as an arson attack, police have said.

Police and fire crews were called to the Wirral Islamic Cultural Centre and Shahjalal Mosque on Borough Road in Birkenhead on Friday night.

One person who was in the flat above was treated for smoke inhalation but there were no other serious injuries.

A police spokesman said the motive for the attack is not yet known but they are taking the attack "very seriously".

Police said the door to the mosque was damaged by fire and there was some damage inside caused by smoke, but the mosque remains largely undamaged.

'United community'

The mosque was empty at the time of the fire but police said it is a very worrying time for the local Muslim community.

Ch Supt Alan Jones said: "It is of great importance in the current climate that Merseyside sees itself as one community, and we must be united in our condemnation of those that would target people based on their age, race, religion or gender."

CCTV in the area is currently being looked at, and house to house enquiries are underway.

Unkempt hair

Officers are looking for two men who were seen in the area immediately before the incident.

The first is a white man, aged between 20 and 25, about 5ft 9in with a medium to stocky build.

He had dark unkempt hair with stubble, was dressed in dark clothing and was on foot.

The second is a white man in his early 20s, who was unshaven, wearing dark clothes and was riding a bike.

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