Officials think an early morning fire at a mosque in Florida was intentionally set, and the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
The Hillsbourgh County Fire Rescue received a contact around 2:09 a.m. local time Friday about a fire at the Islamic Society of New Tampa in Thonotosassa. Firefighters put out the blaze and no one was hurt, although the creating, generally referred to as the New Tampa Mosque, suffered some home damage, officials stated.
Officials and mosque members stated it appears a person attempted to break into the constructing. There are marks on the door, which is locked each evening when the mosque closes.
Authorities will overview footage from surveillance cameras that are installed throughout the home. The investigation is ongoing.
Officials from CAIR Florida, the state’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, held a news conference with officials outside the mosque this morning. Members of the mosque told reporters they’ve currently received extraordinary support on social media and from the neighborhood.
Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, an lawyer and the communications director for CAIR Florida, known as the fire a “hate crime” and an “act of terror.”
"We congratulate the Hillsborough County initially responders for their prompt response to this tragic scenario. It is worrisome that our neighborhood have fallen victim of what seems to be a different hate crime,” Ruiz stated in a statement right now. “CAIR-Florida urgently call [sic] all nearby, state and federal law enforcement agencies to be on best of the investigation of what seems to be a heinous act of terror against the Muslim community.”
Due to the ongoing investigation, there will be no Friday prayer at the mosque now. All typical prayers will be held in the old mosque constructing, according to a press release from the Islamic Society of New Tampa.
ABC News’ William Gretsky and Rachel Katz contributed to this report.
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