Authorities are investigating a two-alarm fire at a mosque in southwest Houston as possible arson. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives said the fire “appears suspicious” because it had “multiple points of origin.”
Investigators are now analyzing surveillance footage to see if they can get a glimpse of any possible suspects, reports KHOU. Firefighters were able to quickly put out the fire at the Masjid mosque that broke out about an hour after around 200 people took part in Friday afternoon prayer services. No injuries were reported.
The Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on law enforcement to carefully investigate the blaze. "Because of the recent spike in hate incidents targeting mosques nationwide, we urge law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for this fire," said CAIR-Houston Executive Director Mustafaa Carroll.
The fire comes on the heels of a study that reported the number of hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. have soared since the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris.