An arson attack is thought to have caused £10,000 worth of damage to a recently refurbished Islamic education centre in South Devon.
People arrived at the Plymouth Islamic Education Trust centre (Piety) on April 19 to discover “raw sewerage pouring into the street” after a fire damaged the building’s exterior wall and sewage pipes. CCTV footage from the early hours of the morning suggests that the damage was caused by two individuals setting fire to wheelie bins beside the centre.
The centre’s director, Mohamed Muganzi, said the cost of repairing the building has been estimated at between £5,000 and £10,000. “The building work is still under warranty but this is not wear and tear,” Mr Muganzi said. “Most of the materials on the wall that we used were imported from Poland so we’ve had to go back to them. We had to buy new pipes and pay for labour to fix the pipes. We can’t use the building if we don’t have working toilets.”
Mr Muganzi said he couldn’t understand what had motivated the two unknown individuals to commit the crime. “I’d like to find out what’s going on in their minds and try to put it right,” he said. “We work with all our community around us, we have open days, we have schoolchildren from the area come to visit, we work with government departments helping them understand about Islam, we host a number of community groups and have the Friends of Piety to ensure we’re working well with our community.”
The police have said there is currently no evidence to suggest there was any ulterior motive behind the arson attack, but say they are keen to hear from anyone who may have information about the incident.