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Thursday, 6 June, 2002, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
Men charged after racist attack
Worshipers pray on a rug with the picture image of the Al Aqsa Mosque in the West Bank town of Hebron
Worshippers were assembling for an Islamic ceremony
Two men have been charged with racially aggravated assault and violent disorder following an attack on a Muslim man outside a mosque in west Wales.

The 30-year-old victim was punched, spat at and hit by a bottle in the attack at the Station Road Mosque in Llanelli on Sunday evening.

The two men charged appeared at Llanelli magistrates court on Thursday and were released on bail.

Eleven other people arrested and questioned by Dyfed-Powys Police in connection with the incident were released on bail pending further inquiries.

'Deplorable' incident

Detectives said men aged between 20 and 25 had hurled racist abuse as worshippers arrived for a gathering on Sunday evening.

A Muslim cleric, 60, who was inside the building, later died from a heart attack.

The worshippers and a group of clerics were reportedly abused as they arrived for the Islamic "family celebration" meeting inside the mosque.

One reportedly tried to pull a headscarf from a senior cleric outside the building on Station Road at around 1730 BST.

Llanelli AM Helen Mary Jones said: "This week's deplorable incident has been a depressing reminder that racism exists in all our communities.

"Llanelli takes great pride in being a town that welcomes all to its communities.

'Total dismay'

The incident has left Llanelli's close-knit Muslim community shocked.

Religious leader Mohammed Ashraf, 60, from Mayals in Swansea, was reported to be in "total dismay" at the scenes outside the Llanelli mosque.

He collapsed in front of his wife before being rushed to the town's Prince Philip Hospital.

A post-mortem examination carried out Monday revealed he died from a heart attack.

But police say he died of natural causes and have ruled out a link between the incidents.

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