Four teens arrested for Islamic school fire in apparent Woolwich murder fallout
The fire, which caused only minor damage and injuries, is just the latest in a spate of anti-Muslim incidents in Britain that have followed the May 22 killing of soldier Lee Rigby.
Four teens were arrested yesterday evening in relation to a fire that broke out at an Islamic boarding school late Saturday evening in the southeast London suburb of Chislehurst. The fire was the latest in a series of attacks targeting Britain’s Muslim community following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.Skip to next paragraph
Jeremy Ravinsky is an intern at the Christian Science Monitor's international desk. Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Jeremy has lived in Boston for a number of years, attending Tufts University where he is a political science major. Before coming to the Monitor, Jeremy interned at GlobalPost in Boston and Bturn.com in Belgrade, Serbia.
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Though no major damage was done to the Darul Uloom School, 128 students and staff members were evacuated due to the fire, while two students were treated for smoke inhalation, reports CNN. Students were allowed to return to school Sunday.
The suspects, a group of 17- and 18-year-olds, are being held at a police station in south London.
The incident comes on the heels of another fire at an Islamic center in the north London municipality of Muswell Hill. According to the Guardian, graffiti was found at the scene that linked the incident to the English Defense League (EDL), an ultra-right anti-Muslim group. The EDL, however, has denied any connections to the fire.
The two fires appear to be part of a Britainwide flare-up in anti-Muslim sentiments following Mr. Rigby's murder on May 22 in Woolwich, another London suburb.
"These are difficult times for London's communities. The Met is now investigating suspicious fires at two locations within the Islamic community which have happened in the past few days,” said Bernard Hogan-Howe, London’s police commissioner, in a statement to the press.
"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."
Rigby, a military drummer, was killed by two men wielding a cleaver and a machete. The men claimed that they attacked Rigby because he had served in Afghanistan.