Extra police planned for Eid celebrations

The Federation of Islamic Associations says it has been reassured by a meeting with police...
The Federation of Islamic Associations says it has been reassured by a meeting with police following incidents in the lead-up to this weekend's Eid festival. Photo: Getty Images
Muslim community leaders and police are in talks about security ahead of the biggest religious days of the year.

The Federation of Islamic Associations is worried about worshippers' safety after a spate of attacks before the festival of Eid.

Traditional men's clothing and electronic equipment were stolen from a mosque in Tauranga on Monday night and a car was torched outside the building some hours later.

The federation is worried the clothing could be used by someone to infiltrate Eid festival events this weekend.

Last Saturday, a hearse - or janaza van - parked outside a mosque in Upper Hutt had its windscreen smashed.

It remains unclear whether the events are linked.

The federation met last night to discuss security and safety and have spoken with police.

Spokesperson Dr Anwar Ghani told RNZ's Morning Report programme the feeling was that the incidents were isolated, however the meeting with police had helped offer the Muslim community assurance their concerns were being heeded.

"Our community is susceptible to hate-related crime, as we saw what happened a couple of years ago, so when something like this happens obviously it brings anxiety in the community."

He said members of the Muslim community were concerned and there was a need to be "safe [rather] than sorry", but police were investigating the incidents and had reassured the federation they would be highly visible during the weekend's Eid celebrations.

Ghani's advice to others in the Muslim community was to "be alert, look out, make your own security arrangements, and police is there to assist us as well, as they have been in the past".

Police said they would have a big presence at the large gatherings happening around the country at mosques, community centres and stadiums.

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