Tampa mosque fire was arson, mayor confirms

An overnight fire at a Tampa mosque has been ruled arson, leaving worshippers at the Islamic Society of New Tampa with no place to hold services while investigators search for clues.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue responded the call at the Daarus Salaam Mosque, commonly referred as the New Tampa Mosque, at 2:09 a.m. Friday.

At a press conference this morning, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn confirmed that investigators believe the blaze was intentionally set.

The executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations - Florida in Tampa, Hassan Shibly, is calling the fire an act of terrorism. Shibly also called upon President Trump to acknowledge the incident.

A representative for CAIR-Florida issued the following statement: "We congratulate the Hillsborough County first responders for their prompt response to this tragic situation. 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."

Sprinklers at the mosque turned on and caught the fire before it could spread. But despite minimal damage from the flames, it seems water damage to the building is extensive.

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