Source: Abbie Vansickle, St Petersburg Times
Someone deliberately set fire Thursday morning to the Islamic Education Center of Tampa,Florida, a mosque tucked into a neighborhood of tidy suburban homes in Town ‘N Country, according to Hillsborough Fire Rescue and the FBI.
Whether hate fueled the fire remained under investigation, said FBI Special Agent Dave Couvertier.
The arsonist found the building empty when the blaze began about 9:30 a.m. Fire crews say someone poured gasoline in a window and set it ablaze. A neighbor called 911, and fire crews controlled the fire within 20 minutes, Yeakley said.
The fire stunned Hamid Faraji, one of the center’s leaders. He wondered why someone would burn a place of worship. But, he said, the fire won’t disrupt religious services.
“Even if we had a tent and had to operate out of a tent, I don’t believe something as materialistic as that should stop education,” said Faraji. There’s been trouble before at the mosque, a block building on Rockpointe Drive. [more]
Please click here to read the remainder of this article. Here are some TV video clips on the arson incident.
Unfortunately, the above incident is part of a long trend of attacks on mosques in North America. Please click here to read about many other similar incidents.
To learn how to protect your community against any such potential attacks, please click here to access the CAIR MUSLIM COMMUNITY SAFETY KIT.
Update 4/17/07: Jewish Community Condemns Arson of Florida Mosque
St. Petersburg Times, 4/17/07
As leaders of the Jewish community, we unequivocally condemn the act of arson committed against the Islamic Education Center of Tampa on Thursday morning. This type of hate (to the extent it is determined to be a hate crime) against any individual, group or organization is unacceptable, criminal and against the fundamental values upon which our society is based.
As members of the Jewish community, we stand with the Islamic community and hope that the perpetrators of this act are brought to justice quickly.
Although each community may have differences of opinion on certain issues, there is no difference of opinion that the events that took place at the Islamic Education Center are unacceptable under any set of circumstances and must not be tolerated within the borders of this great country we all share.
(Signatures:) Barry Augenbraun, Bruce Epstein, co-chairs, Jewish Community Relations Council of Pinellas County; Jonathan J. Ellis, chair, Tampa JCC/Federeration Inc.’s Jewish Community Relations Council