London: The Muslim community still faces hatred behavior in the European countries by the other groups which became quite evident when an Islamic centre in north London was destroyed by a fire in an apparent hate crime attack.
The Met Police said that the fire caught the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre in Muswell Hill in the early hours and it is being treated as suspicious.
A spokesman said that the letters EDL (English Defence League) were sprayed on to the building, used by the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association.
MP Theresa Villiers said, “This kind of hate crime is absolutely despicable.”
The Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet stated, “This is not just an attack on the Muslim community it is an attack on all of us and our values.”
A community representative said, “We are a highly diverse multi-ethnic borough with excellent community cohesion in Barnet. We should under no circumstances allow violent extremists to divide us with this kind of outrage.”
Chief Supt Adrian Usher said, “When and where that graffiti was placed is the focal point of the inquiry.”
The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command is investigating the cause of the fire on Coppetts Road.
A reporter informed that the centre’s leaders had told him they had seen freshly sprayed graffiti on the building and 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.
The centre was not only used for prayers but as a community centre as well which was mainly used by children after school.
Abu Bakar 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,” he added.
He said, “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.”
Zakariya Mohamed, who has been attending the centre for 13 years, said, “I’m heartbroken. I can only speak for myself but I feel this is an act of terrorism. The dictionary defines a terrorist as anybody that causes terror or intimidation with a racial agenda.”
“I think our community will recover though. We don’t want to seem like we are defeated. I dream of being able to rebuild the centre even bigger and stronger,” he added.
Borough Ch Supt Adrian Usher said that the EDL graffiti was found on the outside of the building.
He said that the Counter Terrorism Command Unit was investigating the incident because of their expertise, rather than it being terrorism related.