A group of rabbis from across the religious spectrum have met leaders of the Islamic community centre burnt to the ground in a suspected arson attack in north London, writes Justin Cohen.
The trio – Finchley Progressive’s Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk, Muswell Hill United’s Rabbi David Mason and New North London’s Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg – offered “practical help and solidarity” to their neighbours.
Wednesday’s fire at the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre in Muswell Hill, which was used by the Somali Bravanese Welfare association, comes amid a major spike in incidents targeting Britain’s Muslim community following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
Rabbi Birk said: “We are horrified and deeply saddened by the devastating attack on the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre in Muswell hill. It was a despicable act of hatred and we the local Jewish community and Barnet residents stand with the Coppetts Road Muslim community in our sympathy, support and offers of practical help.”
Rabbi Wittenberg added: “We are appalled by the attack on the Somali Bravanese community centre in Muswell Hill. Our congregation has celebrated together with the community in the past and received a warm welcome in the very building which has now been so savagely burnt down.”
He added: “We wish all the members of the community strength and courage at this difficult time. We will stand by them in any way we can to help them continue with all their activities. It is essential that Jews, Muslims and members of all faiths work together against all forms of hatred and intolerance to maintain an inclusive and peace-loving civic society.” The letter EDL were found daubed on the side of the building, by the far right group has denied any involvement in the fire.