Police probe arson attack at Worthing mosque

A sickening fire-bomb attack on Worthing’s mosque has rocked the town’s Muslim community.

Muslims have been left deeply shocked by Friday’s arson attack on the mosque in Ivy Arch Road, which was started in a downstairs prayer room at around 5.30am.

The fire-bombers, according to members of the Worthing Islamic Society, broke in through the mosque’s back door and set light to a gas pipe they had cut. And if it wasn’t for worshippers turning up for early morning prayers, the mosque could have been burnt to cinders.

Ali Abdul Rahman, chairman of the Worthing Islamic Society, said: “We are very sad someone could do this and we are just hoping it is not a racist or religious attack. “We are peace-loving people and we would hope if the people who did it would come and see us and talk to us we could help them and make them better people.”

Two people, a 17-year-old girl and a 27-year-old man, who are both from Worthing, have since been arrested on suspicion of arson and have been released on bail. They have not been charged.

The fire started sometime before 5.30am and it is believed, by members of Worthing Islamic Society, arsonists broke into the mosque through a back door. Once inside, they started a fire in a ground floor room, which is used as an over-flow prayer room, by setting light to a gas pipe they had cut. They spread white spirit on the floor and attempted to make a bonfire of a mattress and some chairs.

The mosque was badly smoke damaged.

Worthing Herald, 17 March 2005

Update:  See “Man found guilty of mosque arson”, BBC News, 18 May 2007

Update 2:  See “Man who set fire to mosque jailed for three years”, The Argus, 11 June 2007