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Mosque’s fundraiser nears £5,000 as city rallies after arson attack

PUBLISHED: 16:07 18 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:38 18 August 2020

Sirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, in the fire-damaged storage room. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Sirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, in the fire-damaged storage room. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

An Islamic community in Norwich says dozens of well-wishers living nearby have dropped in to donate funds and say hello since its mosque was hit by an arson attack almost a month ago.

Sirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, with the debris from the burnt out storage area after the fire. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre, with the debris from the burnt out storage area after the fire. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

At the end of July, fire crews were called to the former King Edward VII pub on Aylsham Road, which is currently undergoing a £1m revamp by the East Anglian Bangladeshi Islamic Trust to turn it into a new mosque and community café.

A fire had been started at the site, and police confirmed earlier this week they have arrested a 54-year-old man from the Norwich area in connection with the incident.

The blaze, which happened in the early hours of Monday, July 27, saw messages of support pour in for the mosque community, and a fundraiser set up to both help them get back on their feet and continue with the major redevelopment.

So far, it has already raised more than £4,600, and Sirajul Islam, secretary of the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Trust, said they were still awaiting more details of an insurance claim.

Sirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre where fire damaged a storage area and the roof of a wash room.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre where fire damaged a storage area and the roof of a wash room. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The fire damage was largely contained to the site’s extension, toilets and storage space, and Mr Islam said they had been able to use the rest of the centre as normal.

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He said they had been touched by how the community had rallied around them, with new faces popping by to say hello and offer their sympathy.

“The fundraising has mostly been from the local community,” he said, “various individuals. The support has been enormous.

“People have come to say hello and give their apologies and donate.

“We didn’t expect it but these things always bring out the good. It’s a really nice feeling when you see that surrounding you.”

Mr Islam has previously said the attack is “devastating”, adding that it could leave the facilities out of action for the next few months, delaying the overall project.

Norfolk police confirmed the man who has been arrested has since been released on bail until September 11 while investigations continue.

To donate or for more information, visit uk.gofundme.com/f/norwich-central-mosque-and-community-cafe




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