Video released of arson suspect setting Orlando shooter’s mosque on fire
The mosque at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce was damaged by fire early in the morning on September 12, and the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office said it was not an accident, reports The Washington Post.
In addition to the physical evidence that suggests arson, as well as a idea of somebody fleeing the mosque just seconds before a flash and the fire starting, this is the mosque where Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen worshipped on occasion.
Further, it was also only hours after the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
And it is also the beginning of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday of the sacrifice, which commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son at the command of God.
Authorities have released the surveillance video in hopes that somebody will recognize the suspect, who was captured tossing a bottle filled with liquid at the mosque around midnight. The man in the video then shook his hand, implying that he might have burned himself in the process of setting the fire.
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced they are aiding the FBI in the investigation, which is being pursued as a hate crime.
Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida, said that there were people inside the mosque less than an hour before the fire started. He also noted that Mateen rarely attended this mosque for worship, although his family did so regularly.
Mateen, who lived in Fort Pierce, killed 49 people in Orlando back in June. Since that shooting, the Islamic Center has received several threats which lead to an increase in security at the location.
Muslims who wished to worship at the mosque on Monday morning for Eid al-Adha were instructed to go to another local mosque.
The Islamic Center also released the following statement: “It is with a very heavy heart that we have to announce that last night around midnight, there was an arson attack on our Mosque. Please keep us in your Du’as (invocation or act of supplication) and prayers.”
During the St. Lucie County Sheriff Department’s investigation, the Muslim community vowed to rebuild the fire-damaged mosque.
- The Washington Post
- ABC News
- Sun Sentinel
- Associated Press
- World Religion News -Muslim Leaders Condemn Orlando Shooting
- World Religion News -Muslims Fear Backlash as Eid al-Adha Falls on 15th Anniversary of 9/11