Tampa mosque struck by arsonist

TAMPA  — An intentionally set fire damaged a prayer hall at a Tampa-area mosque early Friday, investigators said. The arson occurred at the Islamic Society of New Tampa, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said in a news release. Fire investigators...

Tampa mosque struck by arsonist

TAMPA  — An intentionally set fire damaged a prayer hall at a Tampa-area mosque early Friday, investigators said. 

The arson occurred at the Islamic Society of New Tampa, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said in a news release. 

Fire investigators responded at around 2 a.m. After gathering evidence, they determined the fire was intentionally set. No one was at the mosque when the fire started. 

“It is worrisome that our community has fallen victim of what appears to be another hate crime,” said Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida. 

An alarm company notified a mosque board member early Friday, and he found first responders there when he arrived, CAIR said. 

Investigators from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives also responded, the group said. The ATF didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press. 

CAIR said the fire started at a door to the prayer hall. There was damage to the door and carpet inside from sprinkler water and smoke. 

Authorities said there were holes found in the door, but they determined they were not made by bullets, as some had initially feared. 

Worshippers were directed to other mosques in the area until the building is repaired. 

The blaze was at least the second intentionally set fire at a Florida mosque in the past year. Joseph Schreiber was sentenced to 30 years in prison earlier this month for setting fire to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce on Sept. 11, the same mosque the Pulse nightclub gunman attended occasionally. 

Mustafa Ameen, the Islamic Society of New Tampa's lawyer and spokesman, said this is the first time a fire has been intentionally set at the mosque. He said they're awaiting the outcome of the investigation to better understand the motive, but have been boosted by community support. 

“We appreciate the entire community standing in solidarity with us,” he said. 

Fort Pierce mosque rebuilds after Pulse massacre, fire »

Lauren Delgado visits Morimoto Asia to learn about wine pairing and how to make soy caviar.

Lauren Delgado visits Morimoto Asia to learn about wine pairing and how to make soy caviar.

Lauren Delgado visits Morimoto Asia to learn about wine pairing and how to make soy caviar.

Lauren Delgado visits Morimoto Asia to learn about wine pairing and how to make soy caviar.

Speaking on behalf of the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board, Paul Owens offers a strategy to mend Enterprise Florida.

Speaking on behalf of the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board, Paul Owens offers a strategy to mend Enterprise Florida.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office released helicopter video that shows a car chase along Interstate 4 on Thursday. Christopher McHaffie, 40, of Orlando, was finally caught, arrested, and charged with Burglary, Grand Theft, Grand Theft Auto, Diving with a Suspended License or Revoked, Destroying Evidence, Fleeing and Eluding, and Reckless Driving.

The Seminole County Sheriff's Office released helicopter video that shows a car chase along Interstate 4 on Thursday. Christopher McHaffie, 40, of Orlando, was finally caught, arrested, and charged with Burglary, Grand Theft, Grand Theft Auto, Diving with a Suspended License or Revoked, Destroying Evidence, Fleeing and Eluding, and Reckless Driving.

Sabrina Sieck from Ripley's, and Ted Campbell the sword swallower join us on Orlando News Now. The event takes place Saturday at Orlando Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium and is FREE. For more information go (ripleys.com/orlando/)

Ted Campbell demonstrates his skills ahead of Ripley’s World Sword Swallowing Day while Orlando News Now host Rich Pope and Ripley's lead researcher Sabrina Sieck watch. You can see several professional sword swallowers at Orlando Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium at 1:45 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25. After the free outdoor performance, tickets for Ripley’s Odditorium are 25% off. For more information, go to Ripleys.com/orlando

Sabrina Sieck from Ripley's, and Ted Campbell the sword swallower join us on Orlando News Now. The event takes place Saturday at Orlando Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium and is FREE. For more information go (ripleys.com/orlando/)

Ted Campbell demonstrates his skills ahead of Ripley’s World Sword Swallowing Day while Orlando News Now host Rich Pope and Ripley's lead researcher Sabrina Sieck watch. You can see several professional sword swallowers at Orlando Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium at 1:45 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25. After the free outdoor performance, tickets for Ripley’s Odditorium are 25% off. For more information, go to Ripleys.com/orlando

A look at the raging debate over whether grocery stores should be able to sell liquor.

A look at the raging debate over whether grocery stores should be able to sell liquor.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.

RELATED NEWS