Texas mosque destroyed in blaze

2017-01-28 23:05


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Victoria - An early-morning fire has destroyed a Texas mosque that had been a target of hatred in the past.

The Victoria Advocate reports that a convenience store clerk spotted smoke and flames billowing from the Islamic Centre of Victoria at about 02:00 and called the fire department.

Jeff Cowan, battalion chief for the city's fire department, says firefighters and police officers found the mosque completely consumed in flames when they arrived.

The blaze was extinguished about four hours later. No injuries have been reported.

Victoria Fire Marshal Tom Legler has asked for help from state and federal fire investigators to determine what caused the blaze.

The Islamic center's president, Shahid Hashmi, wouldn't speculate about whether it was arson, but he says the building was burglariwed a week ago. The paper reports that in July 2013, a man admitted to painting "H8," a computer shorthand for "hate," on the outside of the building.

The mosque has a congregation of 100 members.

The fire came just days after President Donald Trump signed an order to restrict arrivals from seven Muslim countries.

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