Indicative data released from the Council on American-Islamic Relations claims that 2016 is looking to be the second-worst year on record when it comes to mosque attacks. However, this year’s number of attacks is hardly near the record that was set last year: 78 mosques were attacked or vandalized in 2015.
A recent attack on a mosque unfolded early Monday. Surveillance footage shows a man approaching a mosque in Fort Pierce, Florida. The man was carrying paper and a bottle of liquid, and soon the mosque lit up into a blazing inferno. This mosque in particular, the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, was the religious praying grounds for Orlando night club shooter Omar Mateen. On top of that, the crime was committed on the anniversary of 9/11.
“I don’t want to speculate on a motive. We all know the implications of the date and the time of year that this is, the 9/11 anniversary. Is that related? I would not want to speculate but certainly that is in the back of our minds,” St Lucie County Sheriff’s Office Maj. David Thompson said.
The community, police and officials are in debate whether the attack was a hate crime or just arson. While the police department does not want to jump to conclusions, CAIR is already claiming the attack had Islamophobic intentions and that these type of crimes are alarmingly on the rise.
“This time another mosque has been targeted in a crime that could have easily taken the life of any worshiper. Only one hour prior to the fire the building was occupied. Our prayers are with the Fort Pierce Islamic Center community for all the difficulties they have endured this year,” CAIR-Florida said.
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