Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed
28 February, 2017, 04:25
Officials with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue have ruled the overnight fire at the Islamic Society of New Tampa an arson. By Friday evening, an online fundraiser to help the mosque fix damages from the fire had already raised more than $12,000. No one was present inside the mosque when it caught fire and no one was physically hurt.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida says an alarm company notified a mosque board member early Friday, and he found first responders there when he arrived.
Thania Diaz Clevenger, civil rights director for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said community members worry they're being targeted due to their faith. But despite minimal damage from the flames, it seems water damage to the building is extensive. "This is the main prayer hall which got damaged ..."
There were also holes in the door's shatterproof glass.
Morning prayers were moved to another building.
Investigation of arson in doorway of Darrus Salaam Mosque in Thonotosassa near New Tampa, Florida. He and other members of the mosque have been overwhelmed with the response.
In September, a Fort Pierce, Florida, mosque once attended by Pulse nightclub gunman Omar Mateen was set on fire. It was the same mosque that the Orlando nightclub shooter attended occasionally.
The fire was reported about 2 a.m. Friday at the Islamic Society of New Tampa, fire department public information officer Corey Dierdorff said. He said they're awaiting the outcome of the investigation to better understand the motive, but have been boosted by community support.
"I am thanking God for giving us this attractive community, who came to us and have reached out to us in solidarity, in unity and showed the haters that this is the America we know", Imam Junaid Khan said, according to WESH.