Feds Probe Fire at Houston Mosque

It looks suspicious, ATF agent says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 26, 2015 10:35 AM CST
More than 80 firefighters tackled the Christmas Day blaze.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A fire at a Houston mosque is suspicious, according to an official from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The two-alarm fire was reported Friday afternoon at the Islamic Society of Greater Houston. It caused major damage to the building but no one was injured. Special Agent Nicole Strong with the ATF's Houston Field Division says the blaze had "multiple points of origin," which is an indicator that a fire accelerant may have been used.

Members of the mosque say they hope it wasn't arson, but they don't know what else could have caused a fire in the building, which is well-maintained and only a few years old. "It's very hard to believe it was an accident," the man who opens it for prayer every morning tells the Houston Chronicle. The executive director for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on law enforcement to investigate, citing a recent spike in vandalism to mosques that have prompted hate crime investigations. (A California man is facing a hate crime charge in connection with a mosque fire earlier this month.)

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