HOUSTON: Massive fire destroys building at Islamic Center

Before knowing any facts, designated Terrorist Group CAIR immediately calls for a hate crime investigation.

Screen-Shot-2015-02-13-at-12.11.01-PM-550x574ABC13  Houston fire officials say the fire at the Quba Islamic Institute started around 5:00am. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) is calling on state and federal authorities to investigate the fire as a possible hate crime.

515916_630x354 That call comes as Ahsan Zahid, assistant Imam at the institute, says he spoke with the Houston arson investigator about their preliminary results. Zahid said, “They said their dog went through and he hit on some substances inside the place, and he said, ‘From what I see right now at this point, I have to say it was an incendiary fire which means that it was started on purpose.’ That’s all we can go on at this point. I don’t want to speculate.”

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Though we don’t know officially if the cause was accidental or deliberate, the FBI is now monitoring the situation. Flames ate away at a building on the back of the property, which members tell us was only used for storage for books, renovation supplies, and furniture. 

BxZLLj5IcAAWOL1 “The damage on the back building is total,” said Houston Fire Department district chief Ken Tyner. “The whole entire building back there is burned up.”

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 The assistant imam said they found a vandalized, smashed table on their property this morning and that he also said just last night, someone had driven by, screaming mocking chants.

Earlier this week, a masked man had been lurking around the institute, and had to be chased off the property. The mosque and school at the front of the property were intact, but people who use them are feeling a sense of anxiety.

“The first thing we think about is hate crimes that could go on,” said Hala Saadeh, who uses the community center. “It says right on the front — Islamic Institute. We’re not hiding ourselves.” Salman Zahid, a teacher at the institute, said, “This is like my second home you know? I come here — I spend most of my day here.”

The institute posted a message on their Facebook page, addressing the fire. It reads, in part, “There has been a tragic event at Quba Islamic Institute this morning. Sometime around 5:00 AM this morning, a fire was started in our third building. The blaze was so hot that the complete building and all its many contents were destroyed.