Statement on incident outside Aisha Mosque, Rutter Street

Following a visit to Rutter Street on Sunday 23 June 2013 Valerie Vaz MP said:

“This could potentially have been a very serious incident and I am pleased that nobody was hurt. During my visit to Rutter Street on Sunday afternoon the majority of residents were returning to their homes. Residents were shocked but settled when I spoke to them. They were understandably upset that their lives should be disrupted. I would like to thank Walsall MBC for its quick response in providing shelter for those who were evacuated and commend the proportionate response of West Midlands Police.”

“I note that West Midlands Police are treating this incident as a hate crime. Given that investigations are at such an early stage we should not speculate further about the motives for this incident. We must wait for the facts to emerge before reaching conclusions. I would urge anyone who has any information to contact West Midlands Police on 101.”

“I am pleased that worshippers were able to return to the Mosque for prayers on Sunday afternoon. The community has remained calm and determined not to be divided by this incident. I spoke to the Reverend John Barnett, Interfaith Officer for the Diocese of Lichfield who agreed with me that the people of Walsall are determined to stand together.

“The way the people of Walsall have responded to this incident shows that perpetrators of hate can never succeed in dividing our community.”