Woman, 85, arrested after abuse hurled at Muslims outside Gillingham mosque in wake of Woolwich terror murder
An 85-year-old woman has this afternoon been arrested after abuse was hurled at Muslims outside Gillingham Mosque.
The pensioner was handcuffed and taken away in a van by officers attending the Canterbury Street mosque for Friday prayers.
As worshippers gathered outside the venue, a woman at a nearby bus stop shouted: "go back to your own country".
The arrested woman, from the Maidstone Road area of Chatham, was
taken away by officers at about 1.45pm and is now in police custody.
A Kent Police spokesman said: "An 85 year old woman from Chatham was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence."
It comes as a man appeared in court this afternoon accused of raiding the same mosque in Gillingham.
And another suspect remains in custody today over an alleged racist attack - also in Gillingham.
"She just started shouting, calling them
names and telling them to go back to their own country..." - witness
outside Gillingham Mosque
Extra police patrols were outside Gillingham Mosque this afternoon as
the force promised to take a hard line against reprisal attacks
following the Woolwich terror murder.
The abusive woman had earlier been enjoying lunch with her husband at
the nearby KFC restaurant before waiting at a bus stop opposite the
One witness, who did not want to be named, said: "She just started
shouting, calling them names and telling them to go back to their own
"Then someone started shouting back at her and it got worse, the shouting and swearing.
"The police then came over and she was arrested. They put her in a
van and her husband had started wandering off down the road, I don't
think he wanted anything to do with it."
Other witnesses said a woman ran down the road to tell the arrested woman's husband she had been arrested.
He managed to get to the van before his wife was taken away, but was not allowed to go to the police station with her.
Video: Heavy police presence outside Gillingham Mosque this afternoon
Before the incident, many Muslims turning up for Friday prayers were pleased to see a police presence of three vehicles outside.
One young worshipper, who did not want to be named, said: "I'm part
of this community and I feel safe anyway, but it is nice to see the
police presence here today."
PC Dave Saunders greets worshippers at Gillingham Mosque before Friday prayers
Last night, a 27-year-old man was arrested after an assault outside a shop in Gillingham.
Police were called to the High Street at about 5pm and arrested him
on suspicion of racially aggravated assault, threats to damage property
and a public order offence.
The man remains in police custody today.
Damage inside a Gillingham mosque hours after a 'terrorist' murder
A 45-year-old man appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court this afternoon after an attack at Gillingham Mosque on Wednesday night.
Andrew Grindlay, of Granville Road, Gillingham, pleaded not guilty to religiously aggravated criminal damage and burglary.
He was released on bail after a 40-minute hearing and will next
appear at the same court on Monday, July 22 when his case will be send
to Crown court.
The mosque in Canterbury Street was damaged in an attack in which
windows were smashed and bookcases containing copies of the Koran
A door frame, lock and carpet were damaged, three windows broken, two
shelves pulled off the wall and a copy of the Koran damaged.
It happened just hours after 25-year-old Drummer Lee Rigby, of 2nd
Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was hacked to death by
suspected Islamist extremists in Woolwich, south east London.
Drummer Lee Rigby was killed in a terrorist murder
Extra police officers are out in force today to prevent potential reprisal attacks at Kent mosques during Friday prayers.
The heightened patrols come as police promised a "zero tolerance" approach to anyone who targets the county's Muslim community.
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge, from Kent Police, said:
"We have made it clear what our approach will be to any reports of crime
or disorder following the incident in Woolwich on 22 May.
"We will be continuing that approach and will act swiftly to bring
anyone into custody that is suspected of committing any offences."
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge
Mr Beautridge confirmed extra officers will continue to patrol the county.
He said the force has not received intelligence to suggest any direct
threat, but "additional resources will continue to patrol to provide a
reassuring presence in potentially vulnerable communities".
Mr Beautridge said: "We've looked at where we believe, working with
other community leaders and other institutions, tension points could
"That's a result of intelligence we have and we have put patrols where we believe they'd be best suited to protect the public.
"These are additional patrols that we have put on the street. I've
authorised additional patrols to be out there as a visible presence,
working with community leaders."
His comments come as Muslim community leaders and Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti appealed for calm.
Meanwhile, Medway Council bosses have met with representatives from the Muslim community in the Towns to offer reassurance.
In: Other News
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