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UK Gurdwara Damaged in Suspected Arson Attack

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Sahib in Leith city, Edinburg.

The Edinburgh Police in the United Kingdom arrested a man on Aug. 29 after a gurdwara was targeted in a suspected arson attack the day before in Leith city.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Sahib was targeted with a petrol bomb at 5.05 am on Aug. 28. Detectives believe that the Sikh temple was deliberately targeted, BBC reported. No one was injured but the building suffered damages during the attempt to set it on fire. The arson attack is being treated as a hate crime against the community, the report added.

The gurdwara informed community members about the attack on its Facebook page, saying that someone tried to burn the front door of the building. It added that the place has suffered extensive smoke damage but the holy pictures were safe. It also told them that access to the gurdwara has been denied by the police until smoke clears.

“Fortunately, the fire was extinguished relatively quickly and no one was injured, but nevertheless we are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness,” Police Scotland’s Detective Inspector Clark Martin, from Gayfield CID, was quoted as saying by BBC.

Edinburgh Police had started investigations in this suspected hate crime attack in the Scottish capital. It arrested a 49-year-old man as part of the investigations.

Humza Yousaf, the Scottish government’s Justice Secretary, said that he was “saddened at the news that a Sikh temple in Edinburgh was petrol-bombed,” the Independent reported. A spokesperson for Police Scotland said that the exact cause of the blaze was still unclear and was subject to investigation, it said, adding that he refused to confirm the use of a petrol bomb in the incident.

“At this time we do not know if this has been a random and reckless act, or a targeted attack on the temple,” the publication quoted Inspector Andy Johnson of Leith police station as saying.

The gurdwara, situated in a former church, is the only Sikh temple for the over 500-strong community in Edinburgh, the Independent reported.

The gurdwara also cautioned people against any collection campaign for the restoration work. It informed them that the place is covered by insurance and will handle any repairs on its own.

In a similar incident that took place on June 6 this year, a gurdwara and a mosque were set ablaze in Leeds, United Kingdom, in the wee hours. The police arrested a 42-year-old man during the investigation, treating them as hate crime incidents. 

The UK Home Office said in a statement in June that it will grant funds up to £56,000 per place of worship, including temples, mosques, gurdwaras and churches in England and Wales, to help protect them against hate crimes. 

It had said that the funding will cover the costs of security equipment like CCTV, perimeter fencing, access control gates, window locks, intruder alarm, external lighting and security doors, among others. But the cost of recruiting security personnel will not be covered.