Centre Says it Has ‘Made Us Stronger’
Police have launched an investigation after a community centre was destroyed by arsonists. Ulfah Arts and Media, which is based at Highgate Craft Centre in Highgate Square, is suspected to have been the victim of a racially-motivated attack, which is believed to have been started at 5am yesterday.
The centre has been the home to the country’s first female Muslim band which has been singing alongside a Christian gospel music choir and was once invited to sing at a 12,000 packed Wembley crowd with the late Bee Gee and Robin Gibb.
Spokeswomen for Ulfah Arts and Media, Sarah Javid said she feared the attack was targeted at CEO Parashant Singh, “Over the last two months our CEO has been receiving hate mail which has been anti-Islamic,” she said.
“He also received a DVD which was full of race hate messages. Mr Singh has no idea why anyone would have a personal vendetta against him or the organisation. But the fire has destroyed everything. Its destroyed equipment, but also all of our projects, some we have been working on for over a year. It saddens me to think that somebody is capable of such a thing but it has only made us stronger.””
Chief executive, Prashant Singh, said: “This is an act of violence against all young people in this country who are coming together to make a difference, irrespective of race, language or colour.”
A spokesman for the West Midlands Police said, “It looks like the incident was arson.”
Whilst a spokesman for the West Midlands Fire Service said, “A police forensic team was sent to the scene for further investigation.”
“Around ten fire-fighters in breathing gear tackled the blaze after a 999 caller reported smoke pouring from a first-floor window of the three-storey building.
“Half of the unit was destroyed in the blaze and 60 per cent of the rest of Highgate Craft Centre, formerly a fire station, was smoke-logged.”