Politicians respond to ‘attack’ on Bishopbriggs Cultural Centre

Police patrol outside the scene of the fire on Tuesday morning
Police patrol outside the scene of the fire on Tuesday morning

Prime Minister David Cameron responded to a question yesterday regarding the recent fire at Bishopbriggs Cultural Centre.

Police are treating the blaze on Auchinairn Road as suspicious after fire crews attended the scene at around 2.20am on Tuesday, November 17.

There has been speculation that any attack on the facility, which is used by local Muslim groups, could have been in response to Friday’s terror attacks in Paris.

East Dunbartonshire MP John Nicolson raised the matter in the House of Commons, saying: “Mr Speaker, can I raise with the Prime Minister disturbing reports of the firebomb attack, in the early hours of this morning, against the Al Sarouk Cultural Centre in Bishopbriggs used by Muslim constituents of mine.

“Can I also alert him to the grotesque racist attacks faced by my colleague Humza Yousaf MSP on social media.

“Will he join me in condemning some of the inflammatory statements in the press attempting to link innocent Muslims with extremism.”

The Prime Minister replied: “We should be equally clear that just as anti-semitism is wrong, Islamophobia is wrong and right-wing extremism attacking people for their religion is completely wrong.

“I think that it is absolutely vital that we are equally vehement about all of these things.”

Speaking later about the incident, Mr Nicolson praised the majority of kind, law abiding citizens in his constituency.

He said: “I am horrified to learn of this fire at the Bishopbriggs Cultural Centre. In the aftermath of the barbaric attacks in Paris everyone in our community must pull together to embrace and celebrate the values that we share - tolerance, free speech, and religious liberty. Those who choose this moment to express their bigotry and hate are dancing to ISIL’s tune. Extremists want to divide us but they won’t succeed.”

Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Fiona McLeod said she was “horrified” to heaqr of the possible attack.

She said: “This is an appalling act of intolerance which I know every right-minded person in Bishopbriggs and across the country will condemn – and anyone who has any information should contact the police on 101 as soon as possible to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

“There is absolutely no place for bigotry and prejudice in Scotland and any form of hate crime is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our community.

“It’s vitally important that our diverse communities here and across the country stand united in the face of terror, and I urge people here not to let terrorism divide us and drive a wedge between the multi-cultural society Scotland is home to.

“It was only on Saturday that I attended and spoke passionately on the theme of ‘Love for All, Hate for None’ at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Peace Conference in Bearsden Burgh Hall. The theme is their personal motto and one that they strive to live their lives by.

“They are a community who regularly raise money for charity and work for the betterment of the communities they live in – as they know that is how we make the world a better place and promote peace within it. We prayed together for the people of Paris and for

peace across the planet. It is with such sadness that this has happened only a few days later.”

SNP local councillor for the area, Gordon Low added: “I am extremely disappointed in the recent incident at the Cultural Centre on Auchinairn Road. Auchinairn has always had a strong sense of community and social cohesion, and I have no doubt the community as a whole will unreservedly condemn this mindless attack.”