‘Omar Mateen who opened fire at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others on June 12 had attended the mosque’ reports say.
Florida: A mosque in Florida was set ablaze by an arsonist, when Eid al-Adha was being celebrated on Monday 9/11/2016 which also unfortunately happened to be the 15th anniversary of twin towers attack.
Major David Thompson, of the St Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said “Eid al-Adha, one of Islam’s holiest festivals, was being celebrated on Monday which could have prompted the attack”
“We are not sure exactly whether this is a hate crime or just an arson, we do know that a crime has occurred and that it is arson,” he told reporters at a news conference.
“Investigators were also considering a connection with the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on Sunday,” Thompson added
Flames started coming out of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, located about 160km southeast of the city of Orlando in the early hours of Monday. The fire burned a 10-by-10-foot hole in the roof at the back of the mosque’s main building and blackened its eaves with soot.
Ahmed Bedier, president of the civic group United Voices for America, also called for authorities to investigate it as a hate crime.
“For this to happen to us, on the morning of our biggest celebration of the year, was something horrific,” HamaadRahman, associate imam at the mosque, also told reporters.
CCTV security video showed an individual approaching the building on a motorcycle around 11:38pm, a flash of light appearing and the individual then fleeing, the sheriff’s office said, identifying the suspect as a white or Hispanic male.
A Florida mosque was set on fire on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. pic.twitter.com/VCTwqGzn1M
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 13, 2016
“In the video, it appears he is carrying paper and a bottle of some type of liquid,” it said in a statement.
“The arsonist is terrorizing our community because we don’t know where he is at and we don’t know what he is capable of doing,” said WilfredoAmr Ruiz, a Florida spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Ruiz said the mosque and its worshippers have been harassed since the massacre, “First there were threatening voicemails,” he said. “Then drivers would splash water on the parishioners leaving on Fridays, and then a member got beat up in the parking lot when he came to the mosque for early morning prayers, and now the mosque has been set on fire.”
“A lot of people have been driving by hollering and yelling expletives at the church or mosque or whatever they call it,” said a witness Michael Parsons, 22 who was standing directly across the street from the mosque.
A Muslim was beaten outside the mosque on July 2 and the attacker hurled slurs. A suspect was arrested. CAIR said that earlier that day, a man in a truck stopped outside the mosque and said, “You Muslims need to get back to your country.”