Anti-Islamic slogans have been painted on a building close to a mosque and cultural centre in south London, the Metropolitan police have said.
Officers were called to a building near the North Brixton Islamic Cultural Centre on Brixton Road at 11am on Wednesday following reports of spray-painted slogans on a building near the centre.
A statement from the Met said: “Officers were called at around 1100hrs on 1 January to reports of anti-Islamic slogans spray-painted on a building near to the North Brixton Islamic Centre in Brixton Road. Inquiries are ongoing at this time as part of a full investigation.
“We are working alongside Lambeth council to ensure the offensive remarks are removed as soon as possible.”
The Met added: “Shockingly, hate crime affects people from all walks of life and impacts on communities across London. All members of our communities have the right to go about their daily life without fear of verbal, physical or written abuse. The Met does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and we are committed to tackling offences like this as thoroughly as possible.”
The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, tweeted: “Disgusted to hear that Islamophobic slogans have been spray painted near the North Brixton Islamic Centre. @metpoliceuk are working with Lambeth Council to have them removed, but let me be clear: all prejudice is cowardly and criminals will face the full force of the law.”
Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary and frontrunner for Labour’s vacant position of deputy leader, echoed Khan’s words, saying: “Islamophobic hate is not acceptable and should not be tolerated, it is disgusting, hate has no place in our society and we should always challenge it whenever it occurs.”
Councillor Mohammed Seedat, Lambeth’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “Many of our residents fear they are living in a hostile environment. The intimidating racist graffiti on synagogues and mosques won’t divide Londoners, but will confirm the worst fears of many of our residents.
“The council and police will continue to reassure communities. But we also need politicians, particularly the government, to act responsibly in rhetoric and action to quell the rise of extremism and division in our society – whether it is Islamist or rightwing.”
Florence Eshalomi, the local Labour MP for Vauxhall, tweeted: “Disturbing to hear of a racist incident at the North Brixton Islamic cultural centre – it was reported that anti-Islamic slogans had been spray-painted on [the] building opposite the cultural centre. Anyone with any information pls contact the police via 101 quoting CAD 4725/01JAN.”
The incident comes three days after antisemitic graffiti was sprayed across a synagogue and shops in north London during the Jewish festival of Hanukah.
The Star of David, a Jewish holy symbol, and the numbers 911 were spray-painted in red and purple on premises in the Hampstead and Belsize Park area, including South Hampstead synagogue.
The numbers may have been intended to refer to an antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews were responsible for the terror attack on 11 September 2001; others fear it is a reference to Kristallnacht, the violent pogrom against Jews on 9 November 1938 in Nazi Germany