Quran “ripped up” at Birmingham City match

Middlesbrough fans

Police are treating allegations that Middlesbrough football fans ripped up copies of the Quran to goad Birmingham City supporters during a match as a hate crime.

Middlesbrough FC immediately suspended two of their fans from all of their games after claims that they provocatively tore out pages from the Quran during the 2-2 draw last weekend.

West Midlands Police are treating the incident as a “hate crime” and are liaising with Cleveland Police.

PC Tim Gant from West Midlands Police, said: “Police are investigating a report of a hate crime which happened during the football match between Birmingham and Middlesbrough on Saturday 7 December.

“Officers are following a number of lines of inquiry including examining CCTV footage and are working closely with both clubs.”

He added: “We have recovered paper which is currently being examined. We will not speculate on its content until examinations are complete.”

After the allegations came to light Middlesbrough Football Club vowed to ban anyone convicted of the crime from the Riverside Stadium for life.

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In a statement, the club said: “We can confirm that, at this point, two individuals have been suspended from attending Boro matches.

“As investigations by West Midlands and Cleveland Police into the alleged incident at Birmingham last weekend are ongoing, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

A Birmingham City spokesman confirmed that the club was aware of the incident and was co-operating with police.

Last night Muslim MP for Perry Barr Khalid Mahmood said the alleged offenders should be charged with incitement to religious hatred.

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