The Metropolitan Police Commissioner issued a statement this evening, following two suspicious fires in Barnet and Bromley.
“These are difficult times for London’s communities,” he said.
“The Met is now investigating suspicious fires at two locations within the Islamic community which have happened in the past few days. Fortunately no one has been hurt, but we know that fires can often prove fatal.”
He said he wanted to reassure people that the police were “using our full range of policing tactics to protect sites that might be vulnerable”.
“In all boroughs across London, there is an increased police presence around locations that might be at risk. We will maintain a 24/7 guard of uniformed officers at sites we consider to be at greatest risk,” he said.
“We should not allow the murder of Lee Rigby to come between Londoners. The unified response we have seen to his death across all communities will triumph over those who seek to divide us.”
A BBC report gives further details. Safety advice remains in place. Please contact your local police if you have any safety concerns.
The positive response by local religious groups and leaders to recent events has been swift and strongly supportive of our local Islamic centres.
Members of Barnet Multi Faith Forum are supporting colleagues at the Bravanese Centre and the Darul Uloom School in Chislehurst will be receiving assistance from the newly formed Interfaith Forum in Bromley.
Religious communities in Woolwich have been rallying round and showing their solidarity. The Director of the Greenwich Islamic Centre (Woolwich Mosque), Dr Tariq Abbasi, and Revd Malcolm Torry (Greenwich Faith Community Leaders) both spoke on the BBC’s Sunday programme. The Islamic Centre welcomed well-wishers to tea on Friday 31st May and the Bishop of Woolwich, Archbishop Kevin McDonald, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, local MP Nick Rainsford, Sadiq Khan MP, Julie Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of Britian and many others joined Dr Abbasi in laying flowers in memory of Lee Rigby at Woolwich Barracks. You can find photos of the occasion here and there were many press and TV reports. Afterwards Dr Abbasi sent a message of thanks,
“Thank you to everyone who visited the Greenwich Islamic Centre on Friday afternoon and for the support that the Centre and community has received.”
LBFN was to have met this Thursday. Everyone has been very busy so we will postpone a full meeting, but all are welcome at our office for light refreshments at 9 St John’s Crypt, 73 Waterloo Road, SE1 8TY at 2.30pm on Thursday 13th June to reflect on recent events. Please let LBFN know if you plan to join us. There will be time to move to Westminster Cathedral for those attending Cardinal Tauran’s prayers for peace with leaders of different faiths at 4.30/5.00pm.
UPDATE 10th JUNE – FAITHS FORUM FOR LONDON’S STATEMENT
Suspected Arson Attacks – United London Stands
We, as representatives of nine of London’s faith communities, stand united in solidarity in our disgust at the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, the suspected arson attacks on an Islamic centre in Muswell Hill and a Muslim school in Chislehurst.
None of these are a legitimate means to express grievance. None of these are representative of a faith that we recognise. None of these show pride in being British.
We know religion and we know British pride. It is about a shared commitment to the common good of our city and our country. That is our mission. That is our faith.
We welcome the comments of the Mayor of London, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and many of London’s leaders, condemning this violence and calling for unity.
In spite of the attempts of extremists to divide us, it is clear that victory will ultimately lie with peace, hope and love.
United London Stands.