TAMPA, Fla. – A fire deliberately set at a mosque Thursday morning was being investigated as a possible hate crime, authorities said.
Tampa Fire Rescue reported that an arsonist poured gasoline on the outside of a building next to the Islamic Center of Tampa, which also holds religious classes. The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes and nobody was hurt.
A gas can was found at the scene. A damage estimate was not immediately available. Most of the damage occurred in an area used for prayer services, said Ahmed Bedier, a spokesman for the Tampa chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.
"The inside is basically destroyed," Bedier said. "They can't use the building so they are currently looking at their options."
The FBI and local authorities were investigating.