FBI, DHS investigating suspected arson in Conn. mosque fire

Though it was brought under control within an hour, the fire, which began on the first day of Ramadan, caused significant damage to both floors


Theresa Braine
New York Daily News

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A fire at a New Haven mosque on the first day of Ramadan is being investigated by several state and federal agencies, including the FBI and Homeland Security, as possible arson.

“There is evidence to suggest Sunday’s fire at a New Haven house of worship – a mosque to be more specific, during the holy days of Ramadan, no less – was both intentional and incendiary in its nature,” New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp said in an emailed statement. “If the ongoing investigation of the fire proves this to be true, the city will bring all resources to bear to bring in those responsible for the attack.”

In this photo provided by Lina Biroscak, a fire burns at a mosque, Sunday, May 12, 2019, in New Haven, Conn. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire. (Lina Biroscak via AP)
In this photo provided by Lina Biroscak, a fire burns at a mosque, Sunday, May 12, 2019, in New Haven, Conn. It was not immediately clear what caused the fire. (Lina Biroscak via AP)

The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Department of Homeland Security are all investigating, along with the New Haven fire and police departments, and Connecticut state police and fire marshal’s office, mayoral spokesman Laurence Grotheer told the Daily News Tuesday.

The fire at Diyanet Mosque was reported at about 4 p.m. Sunday, according to NBC affiliate WVIT.

The fire started on the first floor and made it to the second, firefighters told WVIT.

Though it was brought under control within an hour, the fire caused significant damage to both floors, the news outlet said.

A criminal investigation is under way, Police Chief Otoniel Reyes told the New Haven Register on Tuesday. He requested that anyone with potential information into the blaze come forward. A $2,500 reward has been offered for information that leads to an arrest or conviction, officials told the New Haven Register.

In addition the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it would offer a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, NBC News reported.

Connecticut CAIR also called for an investigation into the fire as a possible bias crime, the advocacy group said in a statement.

The mayor reiterated her support for the city’s Muslim residents, who rallied around their place of worship throughout the day.

“Hate has no home in New Haven – this city and its residents have a legacy of inclusiveness and welcome all regardless of their faith, race, or creed,” Harp said in her statement. “We stand alongside our Muslim brothers and sisters after this reprehensible, violent outburst.”

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©2019 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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