London, June 9 (IANS) In what could be yet another religious hatred crime in Britain, at least 128 pupils and staff were evacuated following a suspected arson attack at an Islamic boarding school in suburban London, a media report said Sunday.
Sky News said police suggested that perhaps the fire at the Darul Uloom School in Foxbury Avenue, Chislehurst, was “deliberate”.
It follows a rise in religious hatred crimes after the killing of drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich last month.
Last week, a Somali cultural centre and mosque was burnt to the ground in Muswell Hill, north London, and the letters “EDL” — the initials of the English Defence League — were found scrawled on the outside, Sky News said.
Police were called to the Darul Uloom School at 11.50 p.m. Saturday.
The 3,000-pound-a-year boarding school was established in 1988 with the purpose of producing “great scholars and Huffaz (people who have memorised the Quran) to preserve and transmit the eternal message of Allah”.
Two men were treated for smoke inhalation and a small part of the building was damaged in the blaze.
The fire was brought under control within an hour. A police spokesman said it was being treated as “suspicious”. No arrests have been made.
The Islamic school Sunday said it did not want to comment.
It was built in 1974 and comprises 130 boarding rooms in addition to classrooms, dining hall, assembly hall, prayer hall, gym, playing fields and car parking, over a 10 acre site.