POLICE in Belfast suspect that the arson attack on a multicultural centre in Northern Ireland’s capital may have been a hate crime.
PSNI detectives believe a fire that severely damaged a multicultural centre in Belfast was the result of an arson attack, and are treating the blaze the south of the city as a hate crime.
According to Irish media, the vehicles of workers at the Belfast Multi-cultural Association premises have been targetted by vandals in the past.
More than 50 firefighters were deployed to battle the blaze, which started at around 9pm on Friday night (January 15th). Seven fire appliances were needed to bring the fire under control. Though nobody was injured in the flames, the historic building saw heavy damage to its roof and interiors. The premises served as a food bank for vulnerable people during the pandemic
In a statement, the association said it had been on the “receiving end of a lot of hostility and Islamophobia for years”, adding that “We are heartbroken and shocked by these events but it will not deter us from any of our work. Our volunteers, despite shaken, are determined not to let down the communities we support.”
Investigations into the potential hate crime are ongoing.
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