A man who was caught urinating on the side of a mosque in Keighley has been identified by the police.
On Saturday, 23 April, a male was pictured urinating on the side of Markazi Jamia Mosque on Emily Street, Keighley.
The incident comes during the month of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, where people are brought closer together with God through fasting, prayer, and introspection.
The man was spotted as a passenger of a vehicle owned by Sayes & Co Ltd, a commercial heating and air conditioning company. The business has confirmed that the man does not work for the organisation and went to the police immediately to help their investigation.
According to a local councillor, residents have voiced concerns about the incident being an act from the far-right but said it was a “silly mistake” from a man who had “too many beers” on a sunny Saturday afternoon with no prior criminal record.
The individual has been interviewed under caution by West Yorkshire Police in Keighley and has been dealt with by way of community resolution.
He has written a full letter of apology to the mosque committee and members of the community and volunteered to donate to the mosque’s chosen charity.
Many members of Keighley’s Muslim community have forgiven the man for desecrating the holy building.
Vas Shabir, an attendee of Markazi Jamia Mosque, said: “Ramadan is the month of forgiveness. The man has apologised and as Muslims, we need to forgive others. People are questioning his motives but that is not up to us. In our faith, we take things at face value and honour them, as part of our religious beliefs.
“He has apologised so it is up to us to forgive and move on. If we don’t, it is just going to create animosity between communities.”
One person commented on social media, however: “He needs to be punished, named, and shamed. No one has the right to do this in any culture’s holy place, and if he really wanted to, he could have gone to Asda or even asked someone ‘can I use mosque facilities?’ and they would have let him. We Muslims are here to show love, not fight or hate each other.”
Councillor Mohsin Hussain (Lab) for Keighley Central said: “It was a disgusting act, but I want to thank West Yorkshire Police for resolving the issue that has been blown out of proportion because of Ramadan.
“The tensions have been extremely high, but I am impressed with Inspector John Barker and his colleagues with how quickly they spoke with the gentleman who was involved in the incident.
“We are from a religion that gives people second chances and I have heard that the individual has no previous record with the police and so I think that it was a genuine mistake. We heard his apology last night and his contribution to a chosen charity by the mosque. We accept his apology, as it was a one-off.
“I want to send a clear message to people to be more responsible. I have been getting messages from constituents being concerned about it being an act from the far-right movement and I can assure people that it definitely isn’t, we need to move on, so it doesn’t cause tension and moral panic within the community.”
In a tweet, West Yorkshire Police Keighley, said: “NPT have been made aware of a social media post including images of a male reportedly urinating outside the Jamia Mosque, Emily Street, Keighley.
“Officers have quickly identified a suspect who was a passenger in the vehicle featured in the social media.”
The added: “The suspect who was not connected to the vehicle presented himself at Keighley Police Station where he has been interviewed under caution, making a full admission to the offence of outraging public decency. He has expressed remorse for his actions and…
“…has been dealt with by way of Community Resolution. As part of this restorative justice process, he has written a full letter of apology to the mosque committee and members of the wider community…
“…he has also volunteered to make a donation to the mosque’s chosen Ramadan charity as well.”
Sayes & Co Ltd, said: “We are aware of the disgraceful incident that took place on 23 April 2022 that is being shared on social media and can confirm the person in the photograph/CCTV does not work for our company.”
Asian Standard has reached out to the committee of Markazi Jamia Mosque for a comment. Check back regularly for updates.