British police probe 'suspicious' blaze at Muslim school

Story highlights

  • A Muslim boarding school near London burns in a 'suspicious' fire
  • Two people were treated for smoke inhalation
  • Police ask public to "remain calm and not to speculate" about the cause
British police are looking into whether a fire at a Muslim boarding school in a southeast London suburb was deliberately set, Scotland Yard said Sunday.
Two people were treated for smoke inhalation after the fire, which inflicted only minor damage to the Darul Uloom School in Chislehurst, the Metropolitan Police said. The 128 students and staff evacuated during the Saturday night blaze were allowed to return Sunday, they said.
"The fire is being treated as suspicious. Police inquiries continue to establish the full circumstances," a police statement read. "We would ask members of the public to remain calm and not to speculate as to the cause of the fire."
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The fire is the latest in a series of suspicious incidents at Muslim institutions since the May 22 killing of a British soldier on a London street. Anti-Muslim actions and angry social media sentiment have emerged in Britain since the killing, including fires at mosques in north London and in the east coast city of Grimsby.
Prime Minister David Cameron's government has formed a task force to examine the dynamics behind extremist groups in the country in the wake of the killing, which triggered demonstrations by a far-right group in several cities. The Metropolitan Police said it had increased patrols around "potentially vulnerable locations" in the area around the school and around London.