Counter terrorism police are investigating a fire that completely destroyed an Islamic community centre in the Muswell Hill area of north London.
The blaze broke out in the early hours of this morning at the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre, but it is not yet clear whether it was started deliberately. Police are now investigating the cause of the blaze, which led to the two storey building almost completely collapsing.
Channel 4 News reporter Fatima Manji has been at the scene of the fire. She was told by police that graffiti with the letters “EDL” was found on the mosque and they are currently investigating any connection with the group.
However, the Leader of the EDL, ‘Tommy Robinson’, told Channel 4 News Home Affairs Correspondent Simon Israel that he was “very sceptical” that his members were behind fire.
“It could be Muslims trying to rubbish the EDL. They’ve done it before in Luton”, he said.
Six fire engines and around 35 firefighters tackled the flames which took just over an hour to bring under control.
London Ambulance Service said one woman from a nearby property suffered shock and was treated at the scene.
A spokesman from Scotland Yard said: “Police, London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade attended the fire. No one was reported injured.
“The cause of the fire is currently under investigation and two properties were evacuated close to the fire.”
A local woman told Channel 4 News that her children go to the centre every day and she is just glad they were not in there at the time. Local people said the centre is mainly used by children and families.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “I was shocked to learn of the fire at the Bravanese Community Centre in Muswell Hill. There is no place in an open, tolerant and diverse city like London for hate, for prejudice, for violence.
“I would urge people to give the police the time and space to investigate this incident fully. I have no doubt the Met will bring those responsible to justice.
“London is a city built on the strength of its communities. Londoners will see this for what it is – cowardly, pathetic and utterly pointless.”