Centre run by Somali Bravanese Welfare Association destroyed
“When a mosque is attacked, it may be an attack on an institution not an individual, but it affects hundreds of people and leads to the perception within the community that their identity is under siege.”
Fiyaz Mughal, Faith Matters
A Community Centre in Muswell Hill, mainly used by children after school and run by the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association has been destroyed by fire in an apparently racist attack.
The local Somali community are predominantly followers of Islam and a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said the letters ‘EDL’ (English Defence League) were sprayed on the building prior to the fire.
MP Theresa Villiers said “This kind of Hate Crime is absolutely despicable. This is not just an attack on the Muslim Community, it is an attack on all of us and our values.”
The Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command is investigating the causes of the fire.
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.
“We are appalled and deeply saddened by the horrific and foolish act against a peaceful community. While no-one was thankfully hurt in the attack, the effects of this crime will be felt very deeply.”
An English Defence League spokesperson said they “do not approve of any religious buildings being attacked.”
However, if it does turn out that the attack on this centre was by an EDL supporter, it wouldn’t be the first time something similar had happened. In 2011 two men who tried to blow up a mosque in Stoke-on-Trent were jailed for 10 years. In the same year four supporters in Dagenham were jailed for 2 years for attacking a mosque with bricks.
Tell Mama (Measuring Anti Muslim Attacks) have reported a substantial increase in attacks on mosques over the last two weeks. The project has also released a map of incidents. There have been eleven confirmed attacks on mosques, including graffiti, arson and bacon being left outside.
Speaking in the Guardian, Fiyaz Mughal director of Faith Matters which runs Tell Mama said “When a mosque is attacked, it may be an attack on an institution not an individual, but it affects hundreds of people and leads to the perception within the community that their identity is under siege.”