HOUSTON, Dec. 26 (UPI) — Firefighters responded to a “suspicious” two-alarm fire about 2:45 p.m. at the Islamic Society of Houston on Friday.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the fire had “multiple origins,” leading authorities to check surveillance footage for suspects. No one was injured.
“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,” Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Mustafaa Carroll said in a statement.
The mosque was mostly empty when the fire occurred, but a prayer service was attended by approximately 200 people an hour before.
The mosque and other adjacent business suffered smoke damage. Prayers later in the day were held at a different location.