BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Someone tried to set fire to a mosque early Saturday and the FBI was investigating it as a hate crime, officials said.
No one was inside the Islamic Center of Bloomington when the fire occurred at about 2 a.m. and damage was confined to the kitchen area, said Nathan Ainslie, president of the Islamic Center.
A burned Quran was found outside, he said.
Someone threw a rock through a window, then poured a flammable liquid into the building and ignited it, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations said.
The timing of the fire, so soon after Thursday’s bombings in London that killed at least 49 people, was suspicious, said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the council. Hooper said his group had been receiving hate e-mail and phone calls since Thursday.
FBI Special Agent Wendy Osborne said agents and members of a Joint Terrorism Task Force were investigating it as a hate crime.
“The FBI takes hate crimes and acts of violence very seriously,” she said.
The mosque had not received any threats, and Ainslie said its 200-plus members generally have a good relationship with the community, home of Indiana University’s main campus.
Hate crimes against Muslims rose 52 percent to 141 last year compared with 2003, and civil rights violations reported to the council jumped 49 percent to 1,522, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a report issued in May.
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