Four teenagers have been arrested after a “suspicious” fire was started at an Islamic school in London.
Emergency crews were called to Darul Uloom Islamic School in Foxbury Avenue, Chislehurst, Greater London on Saturday when the fire broke out.
Initially, the fire services and the police dealt with the incident as “suspicious.”
128 staff and pupils were evacuated from the building. Two people were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said minor damage was caused to the building.
Principal of Darul Uloom, Mustafa Musa said: “Intruders started the fire in the school teaching area” but could not confirm how the fire was started or if there was any signs of breaking and enetering into the building.
He added: “We would like to show our appreciation to the police, fire and ambulance services and well-wishers who have responded and offered support in this time of need. The parents should rest assured that the students are safe and have been well looked after.
“The academic department of the school was set alight just before midnight by intruders. Initially the staff extinguished the fire and evacuated the students to safety.
“The fire and ambulance services responded rapidly and ensured no one was seriously injured. Two boys suffered smoke inhalation injuries but thank God they are recovering.
“We are part of the British community and are deeply saddened by the events that have taken place. We urge the community to stay firm and united and bring the people responsible to justice. The community at large have to come together for a safe and peaceful life in Britain.”
The Metropolitan police confirmed that two 17-year-olds and two 18-year-olds were arrested on suspicion of arson on Sunday night.
The teenage suspects are in custody at a south London police station.
Commander Simon Letchford said: “It’s only by luck that the fire attack didn’t prove to be fatal.
“Fortunately it was identified very quickly.”
The Metropolitan police were asking members of the public to remain calm and not to speculate the cause of the fire.
Mr Letchford added: “There is an increased police presence around potentially vulnerable locations in the borough of Bromley and across London.”
Third fire attack in two weeks
This was the third Islamic building since the Woolwich murder that has fallen victim to arson attacks.
Last week, Al-Rahma Islamic Centre in Muswell Hill, North London was fire bombed to the ground and had “EDL” sprayed on its walls. The centre was described as the “heart”” of the community, teaching children Quran and Arabic, and holding community events for all faiths.
Grimsby Islamic Cultural Centre was also petrol bombed within days of the Woolwich attack whilst a meeting was being held inside. Two ex-British soldiers were arrested and charged with arson with intent to endanger life.