Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

TV cast start fundraising page for UK Islamic school in hate crime attack

Vandals spray-painted anti-Muslim graffiti and swastikas on the walls of Bahr Academy in Newcastle

Vandals broke into the building and spray painted anti-Muslim graffiti on the walls. Bahr Academy
Vandals broke into the building and spray painted anti-Muslim graffiti on the walls. Bahr Academy

The former cast of a popular British television series have started an online campaign to raise money for an Islamic school which was targeted in racist attack.

Bahr Academy in the northern English city of Newcastle was broken into last week by vandals who spray-painted swastikas and anti-Muslim graffiti on the walls and threw copies of the Quran on the floor.

The school’s building, which was bought by an Islamic charity in 2010 to be turned into a school, was the former set of TV series Byker Grove, which ran from 1989-2006.

The show’s former artistic director Anna Magrath as well as former actors and crew members set up a Go Fund me page to help with clearing up the damage and improve security of the building.

“Newcastle is a peaceful city and we cannot allow a few mindless thugs to cause divides amongst us or represent us,” a statement on the fundraising page read.

“To attack a place where children are supposed to feel safe is unacceptable.”

Northumbria police, who said the attack happened between Thursday night and Friday morning, are treating the incident as a hate crime.

But the school’s leaders have said they do not want the vandals to be punished.

Principal Muhammad Abdulmuheet revealed that the site had been frequently targeted by vandals since it was bought by Bahr academy. Still under restoration, the site is scheduled to be opened to students next year.

Mr Abdulmuheet said he wanted to speak with the vandals to say “we are not really what you might have thought we are".

He told the BBC: "We want to speak to you, so you can find out what we are about and teach you what Islam actually says, so you have a correct understanding of what we are trying to do in these places."

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle city council, condemned the attack and called the city to unite in the face of division.

“I’m outraged to hear about the racist vandalism and graffiti at the Bahr academy. Police are investigating and I hope the scum who did this are found and prosecuted. We must come together as a city to condemn such appalling racist hate crimes,” he wrote on Twitter.

Updated: January 29, 2019 04:36 PM