COUNCILLORS and church leaders held a meeting to try to tackle attacks by Muslim youths on a Blackburn Roman Catholic church.

The move came after the Lancashire Telegraph reported a vandalism attack by youths at St Joseph's RC Church, Audley, earlier this month.

A meeting was held at the church where 10 Asian councillors from Blackburn with Darwen Council met with Fr Francis Parkinson to discuss ways to combat anti-social and racist behaviour within the church grounds.

Fr Parkinson, the priest at St Joseph's, is considering putting up fences.

He said: "The meeting was very, very positive and the message is very clear that anti-social behaviour will not be accpeted by anyone of us.

"We are working together to sort out the problem.

"At the time of the incident it was Asian youths who were hanging around but the stance would be the same if they were from any race.

"This meeting has firmed up the relationship I have with members of the Asian community and we will continue working together to solve this problem. "

It was mentioned by Fr Francis that local mosques have also been the target of anti-social behaviour.

It was decided that regular meetings will be held to work through problems.

Coun Salim Lorgat, of the Audley ward, said: "We will try to work through the problems.

"We will show a united front that behaviour such as Fr Francis experienced will not be tolerated.

"It is the reponsibility of the whole community to stop this happening."

Coun Salim Mulla, of Queen's Park ward, who chaired the meeting and has condemned the attacks, said: "The response from my mosque and the two others where the matter was discussed was strong con-demnation of the youths ."

Asif Mahmud, 35, from Bastwell, who attended the meeting said: "The attack wasn't racist as such, they were kids who have reacted to Fr Parkinson, who challenged them.

"This is a prime site for anti-social behaviour."