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Attack on Aish

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2004-06-22

Fire engine

Fire Engine

A Jewish community building in north London which contains a synagogue as well as other communal facilities has been the target of an arson attack in which the office section of the building has been gutted.

The Aish HaTorah building was set alight just after Shabbat started on Friday night in Hendon.

The Aish building is used by local young adults for religious as well as cultural events and serves as an outreach centre for the pioneering organisation.

As well as the offices being gutted by fire, other parts of the building including the synagogue suffered damage.

"Seeing scrolls of the law torn and lying on the floor of my own synagogue in London is devastating," said Aish executive dirctor Rabbi Naftali Schiff.

The attack came a day after South Tottenham synagogue was also set on light.

In a statement, the Community Security Trust said: "No claim for responsibility has been made, nor is it thought that there is any connection between this and the arson attack on the South Tottenham synagogue."

Board of Deputies President Henry Grunwald said: "We are shocked at the news of this incident and appalled by the actions of these individuals who have threatened the safety of the Jewish community. These attacks on places of religious worship are deplorable. We will not allow ourselves to be terrorised by these people. I am grateful to the police and the Community Security Trust for their prompt response and I am positive that everything possible will be undertaken to arrest the perpetrators."

Police are appealing to witnesses and anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.