Islamic centre blaze may have been Woolwich retaliation

Fire damage at the Islamic centre in north London Credit: Press Association

Counter terrorism police are investigating whether the burning down of an Islamic centre in north London was in retaliation for the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. English Defence League graffiti was daubed at the scene.

The fire, which broke out in the early hours of Wednesday morning, ravaged the home of the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association - also known as the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre - described as a place for learning, cultural activities and prayer.

Counter terrorism police are investigating the blaze Credit: Press Association

Lul Abukar whose cousin Abu Bakar Ali runs the Somali Bravanese Welfare Association, said the centre was largely attended by children and functioned as a place of learning and prayer.

It might have been attacked because of what happened with Woolwich, a kind of retaliation. It is a shock for everyone but I guess you have to stay strong. We wouldn't want this to bring the community down. I don't think this will - I hope it doesn't.

In a short statement the EDL said:

The EDL do not approve of any religious buildings being attacked.

Our UK Editor Lucy Manning reports: