The FBI has identified the suspect that set a series of fires at the Islamic Center of New Mexico on November 29. The arson attack was a horrible act of disregard for the lives and safety of our friends, family and neighbors who worship at the mosque. In response, the City of Albuquerque released a statement saying that it continues to stand in solidarity with the Albuquerque Muslim community.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for 43-year-old Isela Camarena for allegedly attempting to set fire to the Islamic Center of New Mexico (ICNM) on Nov. 29 in Albuquerque. Security camera video of the incident shows a woman lighting multiple fires near the mosque’s prayer room.
Camarena had reportedly been to the mosque twice before the vandalism, and police say she once pulled a fire alarm. Police and mosque officials believe she was trying to test security measures. Camarena is facing a third-degree felony arson charge.
ICNM serves as a meeting place and spiritual center for up to 2,000 members of the Muslim community. “Acts like this one that targets Albuquerque’s Islamic faith community have no place in our city,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “With one voice, Albuquerque clearly reaffirms our support and solidarity with our Muslim community.”
“We are thankful the FBI and the community is working together to find this person. We will be more relieved once the suspect is caught because we feel she is still a threat to our community,” said Tahir Guaba, Communications Director for ICNM. “She is not just a threat to the Muslim community, because people who commit hate crimes like this might attack other places of worship too.”
“We must remember that Albuquerque has a long and proud history of welcoming immigrants and refugees and of safeguarding the civil rights of all people who live here, and we will continue to do so,” said Beatriz Valencia, Immigrant and Refugee Liaison for the City of Albuquerque. “The safety of our community is a priority for our administration.”
For more information about how to report discrimination, xenophobia or hate crimes, go to cabq.gov/oei. If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Isela Camarena, they are asked to report it to the FBI 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.