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Fire attack at Edinburgh Central Mosque recognised as a hate crime

An incendiary object was reportedly thrown at Edinburgh’s Central Mosque on Sunday, 18 September, damaging parts of the entryway and front gardens.

The perpetrator was described by Police Scotland, who spoke with witnesses at the scene, as being Caucasian, with very short hair, in his early 30s, wearing dark clothes.

Police Scotland officers published statements on Sunday afternoon describing this attack as a hate crime aimed at Edinburgh’s Muslim residents.

Detective Inspector John Kavanagh said in a press release that every measure was being taken to find the perpetrator.

“Fortunately no one was injured as a result of this incident but the consequences could have been far worse had the fire taken hold and spread”, Kavanagh said.

Chief Inspector Mark Rennie, local area commander for South-East Edinburgh also issued a statement following the attack on Sunday, assuring the Edinburgh community that the crime would be treated as an attack with xenophobic implications.

“This was a despicable and reckless act which we are treating as a hate crime”, Rennie said.

“We have launched a thorough investigation to identify anyone involved and anyone who believes they have information that can assist with our inquiries is urged to get in touch.”

Foysol Choudhury, chairman of the Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC) spoke to The Scotsman about the implications of the weekend’s attack.

“ELREC, as an equality organisation that has been striving to fight any forms of discrimination since 1971, strongly condemns this crime as an attack against our freedom of religion and expression”, Choudhury said.

“Edinburgh cannot tolerate any action that aims to spread hate and division within its society. ELREC would like to uphold Police Scotland’s request for everyone who has any information to contact them, and also wishes to offer support to anyone who feels more insecure after this attack”, she told The Scotsman.

The Student spoke to a Muslim student, who wished to remain anonymous, about how they felt in the aftermath of the attack. “This is a horrific event which shows the level of underlying racism many UK citizens still feel towards Muslims in their communities”, they said.

 

Image: Thomas Nugent

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The Student Newspaper 2016