An arson attack at a mosque is being investigated by Greater Manchester police as a hate crime.
Didsbury Central Mosque released CCTV of a hooded man approaching its entrance and appearing to leave flaming canisters by the front door.
Neighbours alerted to the blaze tried to put the flames out with their coats late on Friday night.
Mosque leaders said that they had received arson threats for the mosque “for a couple of years, but now the attempt has come”.
“If it was not for the actions of two of our amazing neighbours on Burton Road, who saw the flames and put them out with their coats, we hate to think what could have happened,” they said.
“We cannot thank them enough.”
Attack on Didsbury Mosque last night. If anybody by any chance recognises the person in this film, please do the right thing pic.twitter.com/065XFbktqB
— HOPE not hate (@hopenothate) September 11, 2021
Greater Manchester Fire Service said they were at the scene for more than two hours and were conducting an investigation with police.
“We believe that there were several vehicles that may have driven past at the time, and we would ask anyone who may have any dashcam footage to get in touch.”
Deputy leader of the council, Luthfur Rahman, said: “This is a despicable act designed to create fear and hatred. It is only by luck that no serious damage was caused.
“Manchester has consistently shown that we are a city which stands together and will not allow extremists to divide us.
“I commend the neighbours who raised the alarm – they, not the cowards responsible for this arson, are the true spirit of this city.
“I’d urge anyone who has information which can help the police catch the perpetrators to come forwards.”
The mosque was identified as one of the mosques attended by the Manchester Arena attack bomber Salman Abedi and his family.
Didsbury was recently described by the MailOnline as a no-go area based on a book by former Islamist radical Ed Husain called Among the Mosques: A Journey Across Muslim Britain, in which he details how he believes communities have become divided.
The MailOnline story, headlined “British towns that are no-go areas for white people …”, attracted a lot of ridicule as it is one of the more affluent areas in Manchester.
Anyone with information can call 0161 856 4973, or, alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.