Community unites in support of Muswell Hill Islamic centre

By Anna Sheinman, June 5, 2013

Synagogues and Jewish groups have offered support and solidarity after a suspected racially-motivated fire at an Islamic community centre in Muswell Hill, north London.

The Al-Rahma Islamic Centre was destroyed by the fire which started in the early hours of Wednesday morning. It is home to the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association.

Rabbi David Mason of Muswell Hill Synagogue said: "This terrible attack on a peaceful community centre has shocked us all and the sympathies of everyone at Muswell Hill Synagogue are with our local Muslim community today.

“We will work to ensure that the Bravanese community have all the support they need and that this disgraceful incident does not disrupt the harmony that exists between all our local communities."

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said that the letters "EDL" were daubed onto the side of the building and that the fire was being treated as suspicious.

Rabbi Miriam Berger of Finchley Reform Synagogue wrote expressing her "deepest sympathies" .

"The people who perpetrated this despicable act do not speak for anyone but themselves and we all want to stand with you.

"We hope as a community you find the strength to rebuild both physically and emotionally but as your neighbours in Finchley if there is anything we can do to help please do not hesitate to ask."

Reform Movement rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said: “We stand side by side in solidarity with Muslim communities at this time. As Jews we know what it is like to have places of worship destroyed by thugs and we cannot allow extremism and violence to triumph. There is no room for hate in Britain today."

Board of Deputies president Vivian Wineman said: “Attacks of this nature are an affront not only to the Muslim community, not only to all minority groups, but to all decent people in this country."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson called the fire "cowardly and pathetic".

Last updated: 5:21pm, June 5 2013