Police make fresh appeal over English Defence League graffiti on destroyed Islamic centre

The letters EDL were spotted on the wall of the community centre

Firefighters tackle the blaze at the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association and the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre
Firefighters tackle the blaze at the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association and the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre

The Metropolitan Police made a fresh appeal today to anyone who saw English Defence League graffiti daubed on the walls of a Somali community centre before it was destroyed in a possible arson attack.

The letters EDL were spotted on the wall of the community centre by the first firefighters and police at the scene of the fire just after 3am on Wednesday before they were destroyed in the flames.

Reports of the graffiti prompted the force to call in its counter-terrorism officers to investigate the potential role of far-right activists amid concerns of a backlash against Muslims following the Woolwich terror attack.

“Anybody with any positive or negative sightings of that graffiti would be very helpful,” said Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley. He said it was not yet clear if the graffiti was linked to the fire, described by police as suspicious, or was a separate incident.

Investigators were continuing to examine the damaged Bravanese Welfare Centre in Muswell Hill, north London, that was used as an Arabic teaching centre for the Somali community.

The fire was one of the most serious incidents targeting the Muslim community since the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich on May 22. Two men have been charged with the attack.

Political and community leaders condemned the suspected arson attack on a community that has never before been targeted, according to local leaders. The EDL leadership denied involvement in the attack and claimed Muslims could have been responsible for the fire to frame the organisation which holds street protests against immigration.

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