HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The arsonist who set fire to a mosque in New Tampa may have wanted members to be upset, angry and saddened. That person failed. Since Friday’s fire, there has been an outpouring of support from all over Tampa Bay, and all over the world.
Arshad Malik was one of the first people on the scene Friday morning. He and other members of the mosque have been overwhelmed with the response.
“I need to praise God, first of all, and thank the whole community. The amount of response, positive response we’ve gotten is just unbelievable,” said Malik. “We’ve got hundreds of emails and text messages from all over the place, not only Tampa, Florida, USA, but [the] UK and Canada.”
The fire damaged an exterior door, but also triggered the building’s sprinkler system. Water did significant damage on the interior, which contractors have been drying and airing out ever since.
Malik pointed to the main prayer room. “This is the main prayer hall which got damaged … The front portion was all flooded with water.”
Hillsborough Fire Rescue investigators are pouring over the evidence and are currently reviewing surveillance video from numerous cameras on the property. They have not released any of that video yet, but plan to do so at the appropriate time.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are also aiding in the investigation.
Investigators feel it’s only a matter of time before an arrest is made. The public is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 with any information.
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