Florida mosque fire reportedly being investigated as arson

Crews are investigating a fire outside of a mosque in Thonotosassa

A mosque in Tampa, Florida was set on fire early Friday morning, according to an article on The Huffington Post.

The fire department responded at 2:00am to the automatic fire alarm call. "Radiant heat from that fire caused the mosque's interior fire sprinkler system to turn on, causing extensive water damage", he said.

Officials believe an early morning fire at a mosque in Florida was intentionally set, and the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, mosque members were notified of the fire around 2:15 a.m. CAIR officials.

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.

Investigators from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives also responded, the group said.

Shortly after the small fire broke out, rumors were spread that gunshots had been fired into the mosque, as well. But, they say the afternoon prayer service will have to be canceled because there will be too many people to accommodate- now that the facility they built to accommodate them has been substantially damaged.

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

Shakiel Humayun, who visits the mosque regularly shared on a Facebook post that residents were unable to offer Friday prayers at the mosque because of the damage and investigation. It was the same mosque that the Orlando nightclub shooter attended occasionally.

According to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, its crews received an alarm call around 2:10 a.m. February 24.

Mosque-goers say they are surprised by the fire, and that they've always had a good relationship with the surrounding community. "We are part of this community and we will stay".

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