Racist attack on Al-Rahma Islamic Centre in north London

5 June 2013 Last updated at 15:36 Share this pageEmailPrint

Al-Rahma Islamic Centre destroyed in ‘racist attack’

An Islamic centre in north London has been destroyed by a fire in an apparent racially motivated attack.

The Met Police said the fire, which happened at the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre in Muswell Hill in the early hours, is being treated as suspicious.

A spokesman said the letters EDL (English Defence League) were sprayed onto the building, used by the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association.

London Mayor Boris Johnson called the attack “cowardly and pathetic”.

The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command are investigating the cause of the fire on Coppetts Road.

BBC London correspondent Kurt Barling, who is at the scene, said the centre’s leaders had told him they had seen freshly sprayed racist graffiti on the building and that they were concerned the fire was in reaction to the killing of a soldier in Woolwich. Two men have been charged in connection with the attack.

‘Appalled and saddened’
Abubakar Ali, from the centre, said: “The Somali community is in fear.

“We are all shocked about what has happened and we strongly condemn the attack on the centre. As you can see, the situation is a very serious one indeed.

Fire damaged Al-Rahma Islamic Centre
The fire happened in the early hours
“We are appalled and deeply saddened by the horrific and foolish act against a peaceful community. While no one was thankfully physically hurt in the attack, the effects of this crime will be felt very deeply.”

Borough Ch Supt Adrian Usher said: “I have spoken to community leaders and assured them that a thorough investigation is being conducted.

“The safety of our communities is always our priority and we are consulting widely, offering our support and reassurance.

“All communities can be confident that they have our support and I can be contacted personally to answer their concerns.”

Mr Johnson said: “There is no place in an open, tolerant and diverse city like London for hate, for prejudice, for violence.”

He added: “Londoners will see this for what it is – cowardly, pathetic and utterly pointless.”

Two properties were evacuated and no-one was reported to be injured however one woman was treated for shock.

A fire service spokesman said the brigade was called at 03:14 BST.

Six fire engines and about 35 firefighters tackled the blaze which was brought under control just over an hour later.

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