Saturday, January 28, 2017

Texas Mosque burned down

Firefighters tried to douse the flames consuming the Islamic Center of Victoria, Center.

Hours after President Trump signed an Executive Order banning refugees from seven Mid-East countries that are predominantly Muslim, a mosque in Victoria, Texas was burned to the ground.

Flames engulfed the Islamic Center of Victoria, destroying the building in the predawn hours this morning (Jan. 28) as congregation members watched from the curb, overcome with emotion.

“It’s a house of worship,” Shahid Hashmi told the Victoria Advocate. Hash  president of the center, watched the flames from across the street. 

The mosque is home to more than 100 members and serves as a place of worship and community gathering, Hashmi said.

Members of the mosque had planned to complete the day's remaining calls to prayer at the destroyed building this morning but fire investigators would not allow them near the burnt-out building while the cause of the fire is being investigated.

"They said it ... is a restricted area for now for the investigation," Hashmi said. "So, we just prayed right here on this" sidewalk.

And, members of the Victoria community, of all faiths, are invited to join members of the Victoria Islamic Center at 10 a.m. Sunday at the site of the destroyed mosque for a prayer service, he said.

Although Hashmi said the mosque was burglarized Jan. 21, he was unwilling to speculate that the fire was the result of arson.
Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order temporarily banning Muslims from seven countries, refugees or immigrants, from entering the U.S. 

Although there is no evidence the Trump's action and the mosque burning are linked, there has been a marked spike in hate crimes, especially against Muslims, since Trump won the presidency last November.

Hashmi was reluctant to jump to conclusions, however. A Muslim man was arrested for suspicion of burning a mosque in Houston last year.