Manchester mosque lockdown after receiving “threatening” letter with white powder

Didsbury Mosque (Image: Manchester Evening News)

A mosque in Manchester was put on lockdown as emergency services responded to reports of a “threatening letter” they received containing white powder.

Staff and religious leaders at Didsbury Mosque and Islamic Centre called police after receiving the letter on Saturday morning.

Officers put a cordon around the building and fire-fighters in protective suits were pictured at the scene as they worked to assess the powder.

Dozens of young children were attending morning classes at the Islamic school when staff discovered the hand-delivered note, which reportedly included an image of a skull and crossbones.

Dr Faizan Awan, spokesman for Didsbury Mosque, told Manchester Evening News the white substance was later identified as baking powder.

He said it was the latest in a string of attacks aimed at the mosque, after a box of pork meat was delivered two weeks ago.

Dr Awan said: “There was a Qu​​ran class for boys and girls between eight and​ 15 year​s​ old.

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“At 11.30am a letter was hand delivered to the post box and was being opened upstairs with the other post when we found it contained a skull and crossbones and a loose white powder.

“The children were kept inside the classrooms and were not allowed to leave to go into the public areas.

“Parents were waiting outside to pick their children up and saw the police presence and the fire brigade and were quite frightened.”

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman confirmed officers were called to the mosque following reports that “a letter containing threats and a substance had been delivered there”.

They added: “Specialist officers attended the address and the contents of the package were examined.

“The substance was found not to be noxious or harmful.

“We are treating this incident as potentially linked to this series and Counter Terrorism Policing North East is coordinating the police response working alongside detectives from Counter Terrorism Policing North West.”

The police spokesman confirmed that the incident is being treated as a hate crime.

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