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Mosque 'Arson Attempt': Police Hunt Under Way
Police are studying CCTV footage as they try and identify who was behind a suspected arson attempt on a mosque in Essex.
Members of the mosque have said there was a "concerted effort" to start the blaze with entrances sealed with foam so the fire would take hold.
They also said they were "very saddened" by what appeared to be an anti-Muslim attack.
Zia Rehman, vice-chairman of the Harlow Islamic Centre, said members of the mosque found the damage when they came in to pray at 4am.
No-one was hurt in the attack but there was some damage to doors and walls.
The mosque was set up 18 years ago when the Muslim community in Harlow grew in numbers and now serves a 2,000-strong community, according to the centre's website.
Mosque chairman Ajaib Hussain told Sky News that fires were set at five doors, including the main one at the front of the building.
He said: "It looks like industrial foam was used to start the fire. And it did catch fire but thankfully it didn't get any further.
"Behind it is a boiler and if that had caught fire then the whole thing would have blown up so we were very lucky it didn't get any further."
Sky's Rachel Younger, reporting from the scene, said the attack was "captured on CCTV cameras from the Islamic centre and police are studying that footage very carefully to try and identify who was involved".
Officers believe it took place between 10.30pm and 4am, and officers joined Mr Hussain to condemn the attack.
Chief Inspector Ed Wells said: "We stand here together, appalled at the criminal behaviour of the individuals who last night tried to set fire to this building.
"They appear to have set fire to foam at one of the centre's doors which has damaged the wall, but thankfully not taken hold of the building.
"We have an excellent relationship with the leaders here. There will be a police presence throughout today and tonight and we will of course work tirelessly to identify those responsible.
"I want to thank Mr Hussain and the rest of his team who remain very dignified and calm despite this very concerning attack."
Mr Rehman said: "We have been working very hard within the local community, building bridges.
"And we were hoping we wouldn't have this kind of problem, but in the current climate there are elements within society that are not happy and there are issues.
"It's unfortunate and we are very saddened."