LONDON: A Gurdwara in Leith city, Scotland, has been severely damaged in a suspected arson attack following which the police today arrested a 49-year-old man for the "deliberate" act probed as a hate crime.
The Guru Nanak Gurdwara Sahib was set on fire at around 5am yesterday. More than 20 firefighters rushed to battle the blaze after the Gurdwara's door was set alight. Reports indicate that a petrol bomb may have been hurled at the building in Sheriff Brae area of the city.
"Fortunately, the fire was extinguished relatively quickly and no one was injured, but nevertheless we are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness," said Police Scotland's Detective Inspector Clark Martin, from Gayfield CID.
Police in Edinburgh are investigating the suspected arson attack as a hate crime, BBC reported. A 49-year-old man has been arrested following a police probe into a suspicious fire in a Sikh temple in Leith, the police said.
The Gurdwara's front door sustained fire damage, while part of the interior was damaged by the smoke. Inquiries into the full circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing as the fire is being treated as deliberate, they said.
Inspector Andy Johnson of Leith Police Station said: "At this time we do not know if this has been a random and reckless act, or a targeted attack on the temple.
"In addition to maintaining a continued dialogue with staff within the temple, and the wider Sikh community, we will have a high-visibility presence in the area while this investigation is conducted to engage with the public and offer reassurance."
Humza Yousaf, the Scottish government's justice secretary, said he was "saddened at the news that a Sikh temple in Edinburgh was petrol-bombed".
But so far Police Scotland have stressed that the exact cause of the blaze was still under investigation and are yet to confirm if it was the result of a petrol bombing.
A post on the Gurdwara's official Facebook page said: "Someone tried to burn down the front door. There's a lot of internal smoke damage, and access to Gurdwara Sahib has been denied by police until smoke clears and it is safe to enter."
The Gurdwara, situated in a former church, is Edinburgh's main Sikh hub, serving a community of more than 500 people.
The Church of Scotland extended its sympathies to the Sikh community in the Scottish capital.