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Last Updated: Monday, 9 June, 2003, 20:25 GMT 21:25 UK
Mosque attacked by vandals
Birmingham Central Mosque
Offensive graffiti was painted on the mosque

Religious leaders have condemned vandals who daubed offensive graffiti on Birmingham's Central Mosque.

The words "kill the suicide bombers" and "there is a suicide bomber inside the mosque" were written in paint on the outside of the building in the city's Belgrave Road.

The chairman of the mosque believes an episode of the BBC show Spooks, in which suicide bombers are recruited from within a fictional Birmingham mosque, may be responsible.

The episode, which has already been shown on the digital channel BBC Three, was broadcast on BBC One on Monday night.

The BBC have a responsibility towards communities and this sort of negative programme does not serve any purpose
Dr Mohammed Nassim

Chairman Dr Mohammed Nassim accused the BBC of mixing fact with fiction.

He told BBC News Online: "This is going to create hatred in the minds of those already suspicious of the Muslim faith.

"I do not understand why the BBC are determined to do such storylines. They are not interested in reality.

'Unrelated incidents'

"Every mosque in Birmingham has come under suspicion but there is no evidence that any mosque has been involved in the recruitment of these people."

He added: "We have worked in the city since 1963 to overcome any problems within different faith communities.

"The BBC have a responsibility towards communities and this sort of negative programme does not serve any purpose."

A spokesperson for the BBC said the programme would not be withdrawn.

She added: "We have not received any information that these incidents are in any way related to the transmission of Spooks.

"The episode is set in Birmingham because Spooks presents fictional stories, but within a real world.

"However the community centre and mosque at the heart of the story are clearly fictional, set in an invented part of the city.

"The episode was extensively researched, advice was obtained from Islamic experts and the BBC's usual rigorous editorial policy and legal requirements have been followed."

West Midlands Police said it was treating the incident as a one-off and that there had been no previous similar acts of vandalism at the mosque


SEE ALSO:
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UK Muslims warn Blair
21 Mar 03  |  Politics


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