(VICTORIA, Texas) — An early-morning fire Saturday destroyed a Texas mosque that was a target of hatred several years ago and experienced a burglary just a week ago.
A clerk at a convenience store spotted smoke and flames billowing from the Islamic Center of Victoria at around 2 a.m. and called the fire department.
“It’s sad to stand there and watch it collapse down, and the fire was so huge,” Shahid Hashmi, the Islamic center’s president, said. “It looks completely destroyed.”
Victoria Fire Marshal Tom Legler asked for help from the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to determine what caused the blaze. Hashmi said authorities have told him it was too early to speculate.