Thornlie mosque attack: principal says ‘shocking and horrible’ crime to be countered by love

A SCHOOL and mosque has been attacked in Thornlie with fire set to several vehicles outside the college and anti-Islamic graffiti spray painted on the wall.

Police and Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) were called to the Australian Islamic College on Tonbridge Way in Thornlie at 8pm last night.

Executive principal Abdullah Khan said about 100-150 people were praying inside at the time of the attack.

Police and DFES said they found four vehicles parked outside the college – a Honda Legend, Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Prado – which had been completely gutted by the fire.

Anti-Islamic graffiti was spray painted on a wall associated with the college, near the damaged vehicles.

Mr Khan said it was ‘shocking and horrible’.

“We believe this is a hate crime,” he said.

“We can only counter it with love and with a message that will promote love and harmony.”

He said the school opened at a normal time this morning and they issued a message to the students to stay united.

“We do believe of 99.9 per cent of the Australian community is peace loving and harmonious,” he said.

Ethnic Communities Council of WA president Ramdas Sankaran said it viewed the attacks with a great deal of concern.

“We are genuinely grateful that there were no injuries inflicted on the people who were gathering in the mosque for their evening prayers in the holiest of times for the community, Ramadan,” he said.

“Our council has championed the cause of multiculturalism for a very long time.”

Greens Federal candidate for Burt Muhammad Salman said on Facebook it was more than just an act of hate, but a “threat”.

“It is a threat that shows how far people having hate for other people based on their religion, colour and/or ethnicity are willing to go, and how far they might go tomorrow,” he wrote.

“It is a threat that now has the community living in fear.”

Three people were seen running down an alleyway next to the college towards Spencer Road.

Police would like to speak to anyone who saw anything.

Anyone with any information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.