The FBI and Homeland Security have launched an investigation into a fire which was intentionally set on a mosque in New Haven on the seventh day of Ramadan.
New Haven police said earlier this week that they believe the fire at the Diyanet Mosque, which started around 4 pm on Sunday 12 May, was caused intentionally and said “incendiary evidence” was found at the scene.
Nobody was hurt in the fire as there was only one person was in the mosque at the time.
However, by sunset, the mosque was filled with worshippers who had congregated for Maghrib prayers before breaking their fast.
Investigators have not commented on the possible suspects or their motives.
New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp said in a statement: “There is evidence to suggest Sunday’s fire at a New Haven house of worship — a mosque, to be more specific, during the holy days of Ramadan, no less — was both intentional and incendiary in its nature.
“If the ongoing investigation of the fire proves this to be true, the city will bring all resources to bear to bring in those responsible for the attack.”
The president of Diyanet Mosque, Haydar Elevli, told the Hartford Courant that the damage from the fire wasn’t major and only affected the areas of the mosque which is currently under renovation.
He said: “We’re not gonna be fearful, but still, it hurts…This is our second home.”
Worshippers were waiting up until Wednesday 15 May before they were given the all-clear to enter the mosque.
The Diyanet Mosque, which was built in 2010, includes classrooms and apartments, and has nearly 350 worshippers.
Mr Elevli said he was happy with the donations that were coming from the fundraising campaign, which was set up by local faith religious leaders.
As of Saturday morning, they’d raised $167,000 of their $175,000 target.
Last month, the Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford — just 36 miles north of the Diyanet Mosque — also received a violent and Islamophobic threat to burn down its building.
The imam of the Islamic Center told the Hartford Courant that about half a dozen of Muslim families have stopped sending their children to weekend school after they received threats.