LONDON – 10th June 2013 – The Dialogue Society finds the recent arson attacks carried out on community centres and places of worship in London and around the UK deeply worrying.
The devastating attack on the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre in Muswell Hill last week saw the building completely destroyed. Police are treating the fire as suspicious amidst discovering fresh graffiti of the letters ‘EDL’ on one of the walls. This has been closely followed by a separate attack on Darul Uloom boarding school over the weekend, where today four teenagers have been arrested in relation to the attack. While there were fortunately no serious injuries at either location, our thoughts are with all those served by the organisations targeted in these shocking and upsetting attacks.
Attacks against community centres and places of worship should be seen as an attack against society as a whole, regardless of the identity and motivation of the attackers, as well as the identity and religious background of the places that were attacked. If these incidents turn out to be hate crime, then clearly they aim to divide our society which we cannot and must not allow.
As the Dialogue Society condemns any form of violent extremism, we also condemn any form of hate crime. Each is despicable in itself and in fuelling the other and creating a destructive vicious circle. Such prejudice and hatred can only be countered through a comprehensive, positive and proactive agenda which brings people and communities closer together, eradicating the preconditions for hate crime and violent extremism. We remain profoundly committed to playing our part in this work.
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Notes to editors
1. The Dialogue Society is a registered charity, established in London in 1999, with the aim of advancing social cohesion by connecting communities through dialogue. It does this by bringing people together through discussion forums, courses, capacity building publications and outreach. It operates nation-wide with regional branches across the UK. It was founded by British Muslims of Turkish background inspired by the teachings and example of Fethullah Gülen. The Dialogue Society is not a religious or ethnic organisation. It aims to facilitate dialogue on a whole range of social issues, regardless of any particular faith or religion. It stands for democracy, human rights, the non-instrumentalisation of religion in politics, equality and freedom of speech. For more information see www.dialoguesociety.org.
2. The Dialogue Society’s recent publications include an exploration of the Islamic basis for dialogue and intercultural harmony and respect: Dialogue in Islam. This book and our other publications (including a policy paper, Deradicalisation by Default) are available at https://www.dialoguesociety.org/publications.html.