The Tawhid Islamic Center in St. Paul was set on fire early Wednesday morning. The Saint Paul Fire Department has ruled the incident a suspected arson. No one was in the building at the time of the fire.
According to Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, this is the third fire at a mosque in the past four weeks, and the sixth this year.
“This is one of the most serious burnings of a mosque that we know of in the state of MInnesota,” CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said. “The state of our mosques and our community is strong. This horrific attack today may have caused damage to one of our beloved mosques, [but] this attack will not deter us.”
The fire comes on the heels of an alleged arsonist being arrested for attacking two Minneapolis mosques earlier this month. The suspect, Jackie Rahm Little, is accused of setting fire to the Masjid Omar Islamic Center on April 27, and the Masjid Al Rahma Mosque on April 28.
“We're on edge, and we need the public's help” said Hussein, asking anyone around the Dale and University area to share any relevant information they have with the police department. He also asked St. Paul and Minneapolis police to increase patrols around mosques and provide additional resources to protect the mosques.
In addition to the fires, multiple Minnesota mosques have recently been vandalized.
A hooded individual smashed the front doors of the Masjid Al Sunnah mosque in west St. Paul on Friday, and CAIR-MN urged law enforcement to investigate the vandalism as a hate crime.