Water was thrown over two women standing outside a mosque in an apparent fake acid attack police are treating as racially aggravated assault.
The women, who were wearing traditional head coverings, were attacked as they waited outside the Bashir Ahmed Masjid in Southampton on Tuesday. CCTV footage shows a black car slowing down next to them before speeding away. The pair react in horror before realising they are unhurt.
The mosque, in the southern city’s Portswood district, has been forced to issue a safety warning to worshippers.
Police described the women as “understandably shaken” while on Facebook the mosque shared their fears that a subsequent attack could involve acid. It follows a string of acid attacks, including five committed inside 90 minutes in London last week.
A message the mosque said came from one of the women read: “Sisters just to warn you to be careful when u are out and about, you all know about the recent acid attacks in London.
“Today my friend and I were standing outside Bashir Masjid in Portswood, waiting to be picked up when a group of men in a black car drove past us and threw water at us. We are both OK because it was only water, but if they get away with doing stuff like this then it could embolden them to next time use bleach or acid.”
Footage suggests the assault took place at about 2pm.
A Hampshire Constabulary spokeswoman said: “We received a report yesterday regarding a racially aggravated assault in Portswood Road, Southampton.
“A woman reported that she was stood outside a mosque in Portswood Road, with her friend, when they had water thrown over them by someone in a passing car.
“Our investigations are continuing today and we are in contact with the victims who were understandably shaken by this incident. The vehicle is described as a black estate car.”
Recent acid attacks have led to calls for tougher controls on corrosive substances, while Home Secretary Amber Rudd has suggested acid attack convictions could soon carry life sentences. A Home Office review will examine the law enforcement and criminal justice response, existing laws, access to harmful products and the support available for victims.
Anyone with information about the Southampton assault should call Hampshire Constabulary on 101, and quote reference 44170276157.