Graffiti reading “EDL” – which may stand for English Defence League – was found at the Muswell Hill building as fears of reprials for the Woolwich murder grow.
Scotland Yard said: “The cause of the fire is currently under investigation and is being treated as suspicious at this stage … Graffiti reading EDL has been found on the building. Police are investigating any potential connection between the graffiti and the fire.”
Specialist officers from the Metropolitan police’s counter-terrorism command are leading the investigations and a large area has been cordoned off reports The Guardian.
The unit is expected to establish whether the graffiti is a true indicator of the motivation behind the arson attack, or a false lead.
Until now the EDL has been seen as primarily a public order issue for police, but if it turns out the blaze is linked to the far right group, this will be reason for great concern.
“If the EDL are involved, the counter-terrorism command will establish if it is linked to them and what that means,” said a source to The Guardian.<
Six fire engines and about 35 firefighters battled the blaze at the al-Rahma Islamic Centre and the Bravanese Centre which took more than an hour to bring under control.
Chief Superintendent 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.”
Mohamed Elmi, chairman of Somali Diaspora UK, said his organisation had received around 100 calls from people associated with the centre.
“Fifty per cent of the people who have been in touch are from people who say they are scared – scared to leave their homes or women scared to wear their hijabs in the street … People are really shaken up by this. We have to be calm and strong and not let these people win.”
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