Thug 'sets fire to mosque' attended by Orlando Pulse shooter

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24 September, 2016

"Immediately after the individual approached, a flash occurred and the individual fled the area", Thompson added.

Omar Mateen, who opened fire at the Pulse nightclub on June 12 in a rampage that left 49 victims dead and 53 wounded, attended the mosque.

Officials received a call around 12.31 am (local time) on Monday, reporting a fire at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, Florida, a police official said.

The FBI looked for a potential connection between Mateen and Abusalha in 2014 and did not find "ties of any effect", aside from the two men knowing each other "casually" from attending the same mosque, said the bureau's director, James B. Comey, on Monday.

"As soon as we are able, we will release the video of this incident and ask for the public to assist us in identifying the person or persons responsible".

"We do not have evidence right now that says it's a hate crime", Thompson said.

The Florida director of an Islamic advocacy group says it's disconcerting that a mosque was set on fire on one of the two biggest holidays on the Muslim calendar, Eid al-Adha.

A Florida place of worship frequented by the alleged perpetrator of the worst mass shooting in US history was set ablaze on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, officials said Monday. Center leaders said if they can rebuild, they will.

Video shot by a neighbor directly across the street shows how intense the fire and flames got as fire crews battled the blaze. "Please keep us in your Du'as and prayers".

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It was also the same day as the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

"This is a awful tragedy", he added, "not only for the Islamic Center but also for our community".

"Today was supposed to be a day of this community exchanging gifts with their kids, visiting their family members, having dinners, having lunches", Wilfredo Ruiz, a spokesman for the mosque, said at a Monday afternoon news conference in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Parsons said that since the Orlando massacre, she has heard people in passing cars yell out threats. His father is among roughly 100 people who attend the mosque.

Photographs posted on the sheriff department's Facebook page showed fire engines parked in front of the building, a former church, with the facade appearing undamaged.

It is the latest in a string of attacks at the mosque following the Pulse shooting.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said such actions only terrorize Muslim communities across the US.

Hooper said it is up to the majority that does not hold anti-Islamic views to stand up and say so.

With its painted star and crescent, palm trees and occasional protester outside, the Sunni mosque is central to Islamic life in Fort Pierce, a city of around 44,000 people about an hour's drive north of Palm Beach. A Muslim man was beaten outside the center in early July, with the attacker reportedly using racial slurs during the attack.


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