London Islamic Centre destroyed in ‘attack’
An Islamic centre in north London has been destroyed by a fire in an apparent racially motivated attack.
It is not yet known whether the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre, which is listed as a mosque, was set alight deliberately in the early hours.
However Met Police has confirmed the words EDL were sprayed onto the two-storey building in Muswell Hill.
The centre on Coppetts Road is used by the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association who have appealed for calm.
The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command are investigating the cause of the fire which is being treated as suspicious at this stage.
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.
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.
“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.”
‘Have our support’
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.”
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.