Mosque fire triggers counter-terror investigation

A fire at an Islamic centre is being treated as a possible terrorist incident after police said graffiti saying 'EDL' was left on the walls.

The Al-Rahma Islamic Centre in north London is understood to have been set alight deliberately last night and Met police are investigating the cause, with specialist officers from counter-terrorism command leading the investigation.

The Met's decision to treat the fire as a terrorist incident will please many anti-fascist campaigners, who have longed claimed that attacks against the Muslim community are comparable to Islamic terror.

"We've said for a long time the EDL and BNP have been terrorising Muslim and black communities and its not been taken seriously," Unite Against Fascism joint national secretary Weyman Bennett told Politics.co.uk.

"Not since the deep south have you had a group of racists who have gotten away with burning down black churches – and now they're burning down mosques.

"There is a high level of EDL members involved in attacks on mosques. They've got a long history of doing this."

Representatives of the UAF are travelling to Muswell Hill, where the incident took place.

There is still no confirmation of how or why the building, which is a  Somali cultural centre used for education and Arabic classes, was burned down.

London Mayor Boris Johnson branded the arson "cowardly, pathetic and utterly pointless".

The suspected arson comes after two weeks of heightened tension in the wake of the Woolwich killing.

The far-right EDL has conducted numerous marches in the intervening days to gather more supporters.

Muslim Association of Britain president Omer El-Hamdoon told Politics.co.uk that EDL marches were more confrontational than those conducted by the BNP.

"The EDL seem to be more in-your-face, they are more confrontational," he said.

"Certainly the speech they convey is worrying and can be intimidating for Muslims who listen to it."

Barnet borough commander 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."

EDL leader Tommy Robinson tweeted: "There were 26 fire bombings in Luton with graffiti saying Edl? Guess who was arrested for it? Muslims! Sorry if I'm sceptical."