Petrol bomb attack leaves Sikh faithful ‘frightened’

Police in Edinburgh are appealing for witnesses following a suspicious fire after a Sikh temple was targeted by a molotov cocktail.

The leader of a Sikh temple damaged in a petrol bomb attack in Edinburgh says the community has been stunned and frightened by the incident.

Sikh temple Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Leith, Edinburgh, which has sustained fire damage after an arson attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Sikh temple Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Leith, Edinburgh, which has sustained fire damage after an arson attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Police were called to the blaze at the Sheriff Brae temple in Leith at about 5am on Tuesday morning.

Firefighters quickly responded and doused the flames, but the fire had already ravaged the entrance and rooms within the building have been severely smoke damaged.

Kulbear Singh, president of the Edinburgh Sikh Gurdwara, said: “Scotland’s Sikh community places an emphasis on contributing positively to society and prides itself as a vital part of a modern, multicultural Scotland.

“As such, hateful occurrences such as this are incredibly disheartening. The Gurdwara is the place of sanctuary and learning. We come here every week with our family and children. It is frightening that someone would target us in this way.”

Sikh temple Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Leith, Edinburgh, which has sustained fire damage after an arson attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Aug 28 2018

Sikh temple Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Leith, Edinburgh, which has sustained fire damage after an arson attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Aug 28 2018

Wege Singh, general secretary of the Edinburgh Sikh Gurdwara, said: “We are an active community in Edinburgh and provide free meals for the local community and educational services.

“We are appalled at this attack on a religious centre. We will not stop playing our part in this vibrant city and will work through interfaith to create an inclusive Scotland.”

The Gurdwara is situated in a former church and has been used by the Sikh community for nearly 50 years.

It is the only Sikh centre in the Scottish capital, serving a community of more than 500 people.

Inspector Andrew Johnson, from Leith Police Station, reassured the community that a high-visibility presence would remain in the area during the investigation. He said: “At this time we do not know if this has been a random and reckless act or a targeted attack on the temple.”

Edinburgh City Council leader Adam McVey asked the city to stand in solidarity with those affected. He said: “It’s an attack on all of us and our beliefs.”

Scotland’s justice secretary Humza Yousaf said he was “saddened” by the attack.

He tweeted: “I know @policescotland will investigate thoroughly. Solidarity with my Sikh friends and Sikh Community across Scotland.”

Read more: Scotland’s largest Sikh temple officially opens in Glasgow