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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Texas mosque burned down; cause unknown

Victoria, Texas -- An early-morning fire has destroyed a Texas mosque. This mosque has been the target of hatred in the past but the cause is still unknown.

According to The Victoria Advocate a convenience store clerk saw smoke and flames shooting up from the Islamic Center of Victoria around 2 a.m. Saturday and called the fire department.

Battalion chief Jeff Cowan of the city's fire department said that when they and the police arrived, the mosque was completely consumed in flames. 

It took about four hours to extinguish the blaze and there were no injuries reported.

Victoria Fire Marshal Tom Legler asked for help from state and federal fire investigators to determine the cause of the fire.

Shahid Hasmi, the Islamic Center president, would not speculate as to the cause, but he said the building was burglarized a week ago. In July 2013, a man admitted to painting "H8" on the outside of the building. That's a computer shorthand for the word "hate."

The mosque has a congregation of 100 members, and is not known to be a hotbed for terrorist ideology, anti-Christian, anti-gay,  anti-American and anti-Semitic teaching.