This shocking video captures the moment a pair of racist thugs mindlessly set fire to a mosque.
The louts initially tried to break into Al Falah Braintree Islamic Centre in Essex by throwing bricks and kicking the door.
But when that failed the pair, believed to be intoxicated at the time, set fire to the plastic corrugated roof on the building’s lean to.
Throughout the attack, which was captured on the Islamic centre’s CCTV, one of the yobs repeatedly revealed his face when he looked up at the camera.
After starting the fire they fled the scene at around 2.30am on Sunday (8/12), as melted plastic dripped down and the fire spread.
The centre’s secretary Sikander Sleemy said: “I think they had a drink or were drunk, just by the way they were walking and the fact that the pubs closed just before.
“They passed by and stumbled across to the mosque, or realised it was a mosque, and have had a bit of fun and tried to set fire to the mosque.
“I think the first boy tried to break in but couldn’t and they grabbed some rubbish and set it alight and threw it on the porch area on the roof and, because of the weight of the bag, it just burned and came straight through.
“It was burning when one of our taxi drivers was passing. He put the fire out with a bottle of water.
“We are just fortunate they were two drunk guys who didn’t know what they were doing and were being stupid.
“Had the bin bag not been as heavy it could have spread across the roof and we could have been looking at something worse.”
Essex Police is treating the incident as a hate crime.
The attack comes more than three years after construction worker Geoffrey Ryan, 44, approached the centre armed with two knives and launched a smoke grenade inside, hours after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, London.
He was jailed for nine months after admitting two charges of having a bladed object in a public place and one charge of affray.
Braintree Chief Inspector Craig Carrington, from Essex police, described the latest incident as “rare”.
“We are investigating the offence and are working with our partners to reassure the community at this time.”
James Cleverly, MP for Braintree, added: “This mindless attack on the local mosque is completely unacceptable. The actions of a couple of thugs in no way reflects the welcoming nature of Braintree.”
The fire brigade were called to the scene but by the time they arrived the fire had gone out. They made the scene safe before leaving.
Anyone with information about the incident should call Essex police on 101.