Hillsborough County Fire Rescue officials have ruled a fire set at the Islamic Society of New Tampa
in Thonotosassa as arson.
WFTS Tampa Bay
reports fire investigators were notified about a fire at an outdoor entrance to the mosque around 2 a.m. No one was inside the building when the fire started. Fire officials later determined the fire was intentionally set.
The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says that around 2:15 a.m., a board member of the mosque was notified by a security alarm company that the building's sprinkler system had gone off, likely in response to the fire.
"We congratulate the Hillsborough County first responders for their prompt response to this tragic situation," says Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, a spokesperson for CAIR-Florida, in a statement. "It is worrisome that our community have fallen victim of what appears to be another hate crime. This time another Florida mosque has been targeted in a crime that could have easily taken the life of any worshiper. Our prayers are with the New Tampa Mosque community; and we are grateful that nobody was physically hurt. CAIR-Florida urgently call all local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to be on top of the investigation of what appears to be a heinous act of terror against the Muslim community."
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn also responded to the incident on social media, saying "We cannot allow anyone, for any reason, to be attacked. We stand in solidarity with our Muslim community. We will figure out who did this."