Islamic boarding school fire in Bromley treated as suspicious by police

Police are investigating a fire started by intruders at an Islamic boarding school on the south-east outskirts of London as suspicious, amid continuing fears of reprisals after the Woolwich murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. Two boys were treated for smoke inhalation after fire broke out at the Darul Uloom Islamic School in Chislehurst, Kent, on Saturday night.

In a statement the police urged the public to remain calm and not to speculate on the cause of the fire. It said extra police had been deployed to other “potentially vulnerable” buildings in the area. It but did not elaborate.

 

Darul Uloom Islamic School is about six miles (10 kilometres) from Woolwich, where Rigby was killed last month. It is a £3,000-a-year, boys’ boarding school, was established in 1988. Students wear salwar kameez and skull caps, typical of Pakistan, and study a mixture of the national curriculum and Islamic studies. The school was established in 1988. Its website says it aims to “prepare Muslim students to be good Muslims and responsible citizens; to embed in the student a sense of discipline; to enable them to grow up to become upright, respectable and worthy citizens of their respective countries.”

 

Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police chief commissioner, said: “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. Fortunately no one has been hurt, but we know that fires can often prove fatal.

 

Four teenagers have been arrested over the fire which saw 182 staff and pupils evacuated and two treated for smoke inhalation. The four – two aged 17, and two aged 18 – were arrested on suspicion of arson late last night, the Metropolitan Police confirmed. They are currently in custody at a south London police station.

 

The incident is the second suspected arson attack perpetrated against a Muslim institution in the capital after graffiti reading “EDL” was found at a burned out Islamic Community Centre in Muswell Hill. Met Police investigators are still trying to establish the causes and circumstances of the school fire. They appealed for calm and asked people not to speculate as to the cause of the fire.

Police chef sues for being ordered to cook sausage

A police chef is suing Scotland Yard after being threatened to cook pork sausages and bacon for morning fry-ups despite his claim that the Yard said he would not have to touch food derived from pigs when he joined. Devout Hasanali Khoja has alleged that managers threatened to sack him if he refused to cook the pork-based products, which are banned under Islam, and has started proceedings for religious discrimination.

Mr Khoja, 60, said that they refused to write a “no-pork” guarantee into his contract and told him to wear gloves when he cooks the breakfasts – dubbed “999 breakfasts”. The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s campaign director Mark Wallace said: “The Met’s personnel department has obviously made a serious error and they should never have recruited someone who won’t cook what the job requires.”

The Pakistan-born chef, from Edgware, north London, joined the Met three years ago as senior catering manager at Hendon Police College in north London, where he was excused from touching the meat. But he said the offending orders came when he was given a new job at the Empress State Building in Hammersmith, west London, which is occupied mainly by Met Police staff.

His lawyer Khalid Sofi reportedly said: “This is far from a trivial claim. It is fundamental to Mr. Khoja’s beliefs that he should not handle pork. Mr. Sofi’s case raises the general question of the Met accommodating the needs of the Muslim community at a time when there is a lack of confidence in the police among Muslims.” After complaining about the proposed move, Mr. Khoja was put on special paid leave for a year but was brought back and given a third, lower-ranking job, where he does not handle foods that breach his faith.

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Cleric in Beating

A MUSLIM cleric was in a serious condition in hospital last night after being brutally attacked in a mosque. The 58-year-old imam, who has not been named, suffered heavy blood loss, damage to both eyes and had to undergo emergency surgery. The attack took place on Friday in London’s Regent’s Park mosque. The Met Police said it was keeping an open mind about the motive. But the Muslim Council of Britain has complained of a series of recent Islamophobic attacks across the country. A spokesman said: “There is clearly a growing anti-Muslim climate.”