THE head of a recently formed Islamic community group has received a threatening letter and had his house targeted by arsonists in an apparently racist campaign against him.

Noor Ramjanally, of Valley Hill, Loughton, said his family had been very shaken by the incidents which started after he hired the Murray Hall, in Borders Lane, for Islamic prayer sessions.

He told the Guardian: “Every Friday we have our prayers and meetings, then we disperse. This Wednesday I received a threatening letter saying: 'We don't want you to carry on at this. We know which school your kid goes to and which car you drive.'

“On Thursday they set fire to the front door of my home. They used an accelerant. It's with the police and they are doing all the checks.

“I'm ok, but my wife and kid are very disturbed. I've had to take my kid out of his school.

“It's definitely targeted. They don't want the Islamic community centre in Loughton, I don't know why.”

Mr Ramjanally started to rent the hall at the end of March, from Loughton Town Council, holding sessions under the name Loughton Islamic Community Centre.

Town council mayor Ken Angold-Stephens said: “Any sort of racial incident of this sort is something which is absolutely regrettable in our area. I do hope the culprits are found and dealt with accordingly. We can't tolerate any incidents of that sort.”

Despite the threats, Mr Ramjanally has said he will not be deterred and plans to continue his work as before.

He said: “I want to say whatever happens we're staying here. We just need people to know what we are doing. We have got a lot of support- we get about 30 to 40 people every week. They are not going to stop us.”

Essex Police have confirmed they are investigating both incidents as racially motivated.

Anyone with information should call police on 0300 333 4444