Mysterious Fire Envelopes Mosque Hours After Trump's Ban

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but the building had previously been a target of hate crimes.

Hours after President Donald Trump's executive order travel ban on Muslims from certain countries, a Texas mosque has gone up in flames.

A clerk at a nearby convenience store spotted the Islamic Center of Victoria completely enveloped in flames around 2 a.m. and called the fire department. The mosque was completely incinerated by the time the fire brigade arrived.

The mosque housed 100 members of the congregation, none of who was harmed.

On Sunday, the mosque plans to hold a congregational prayer for safety, and has started a GoFundMe page for rebuilding efforts.

Shahid Hashmi, the president of the center, arrived amid the blaze and watched as his place of worship burned to the ground. Acknowledging that the center had been a target of hate crimes in the past, he refused to speculate on the alleged causes of the sudden, and intense, fire.

The building was burglarized a few weeks ago, and in 2013, the mosque was vandalized after a man painted "H8," the shorthand for hate, on the outside of the building.

Hate crimes have seen a sharp spike following Trump's election to the presidency. As results of the election rolled in, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim crimes also rose. Hijabs were pulled, people of color were attacked and the attackers often chanted Trump's name.

Whether this attack is an offshoot of Trump's strongly anti-Muslim ban remains to be determined.

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters

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