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Police investigate suspected arson attack on Sikh temple in Scotland

Scottish justice secretary tweets that incident involved 'petrol bomb'

Tom Batchelor
Tuesday 28 August 2018 19:08 BST
The charred front door of the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Edinburgh
The charred front door of the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Edinburgh (Guru Nanak Gurdwara Edinburgh)

Police in Edinburgh are investigating a suspected arson attack on a Sikh temple.

The Guru Nanak Gurdwara was set on fire in what was believed to be a “deliberate” act at around 5am on Tuesday.

No one was injured but the building suffered smoke damage.

Police Scotland said they were treating the incident at the temple in Leith as “suspicious”.

A post on the temple’s official Facebook page said: “We regret to inform you that Guru Nanak Gurdwara suffered an arson attack this morning at 5am.

“Someone tried to burn down the front door. There's a lot of internal smoke damage, and access to Gurdwara Sahib has been denied by police until smoke clears and it is safe to enter.

“Investigations are ongoing, and forensic officers are on site.”

Humza Yousaf, the Scottish government’s justice secretary, said he was “saddened at the news that a Sikh temple in Edinburgh was petrol-bombed”.

However a spokesperson for Police Scotland insisted the exact cause of the blaze was still under investigation and refused to confirm that it was the result of a petrol bombing.

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Inspector Andy Johnson, of Leith police station, said: "At this time we do not know if this has been a random and reckless act, or a targeted attack on the temple.

"In addition to maintaining a continued dialogue with staff within the temple, and the wider Sikh community, we will have a high-visibility presence in the area while this investigation is conducted to engage with the public and offer reassurance.”

Rt Rev Susan Brown, moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: “How sad that a place of worship should be the target of such a hateful act. I am glad no one was injured and extend sympathy to the Sikh community in Edinburgh.

“We recognise the actions of a small minority do not reflect the good relations that exist with your local community. There is no room in Scotland for intolerance.”

Anyone with information on the attack is urged to contact Gayfield CID via 101 and quote incident number 385 of the 28 August.

Alternatively, an anonymous report can be made to the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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