A New Haven, Connecticut, mosque that burned over the weekend was intentionally set ablaze, according to officials.
“We’ve detected that there is intent in this fire,” New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said at a news conference Monday, NBC News reported.”This was intentionally set.”
One man was reportedly inside the Diyanet Mosque on Sunday afternoon when the fire broke out, but there were no injuries.
What’s the story?
The fire, which occurred on the first day of Ramadan, started in an area that was under construction, according to the report. It caused significant damage to the first and second floors of the mosque. Ramadan is considered the holiest month on the Muslim calendar.
“In this time of their season of religious worship, our hearts go out to them,” Alston said.
The building is uninhabitable, the fire chief said, adding that firefighters managed to recover some of the artifacts inside the mosque.
“I find an attack like this is especially hurtful and hateful when you attack an institution for what people believe,” Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said Monday during a news conference, according to WTIV-TV.
The FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are assisting local and state authorities in the investigation.
“Because it’s a house of worship and what’s going on in our nation right now, we want to make sure State Police are on the scene paralleling, paralleling their investigation with us,” Alston said.
Lamont tweeted that his office is working with law enforcement agencies to find those responsible for the “hate-fueled attack.”
“A hate-fueled attack on a religious institution — any religion — is disgusting and appalling. There is no place for it in our state or our nation. We will work w/ our local counterparts in #NewHaven to assist in the investigation and ensure those responsible are held accountable,” he wrote on Twitter.
Officials have offered a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the fire.
The Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has said it would offer an additional $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.