The Islamic Center of New Mexico on Yale Blvd. SE has been targeted by what center leaders say is a hate crime. Surveillance video shows a woman setting multiple fires Monday morning near the prayer hall of ICNM. Mosque members believe the fires were started by a woman who came to the center last week expressing hostility.
“The woman in the video has been to the mosque three times in the past two months,” said Tahir Guaba, public relations director for ICNM. “She tried to set fire to the carpet where the children play in an incident in early November,” he said. That incident was not reported to law enforcement at the time because of miscommunication among members. “At the time, our Imam tried speaking with her and she told him ‘Fuck all Muslims.'”
This latest incident occurred on Nov. 29, when several cars driving by the mosque noticed a fire burning near the prayer hall and children’s playground. “Thankfully they stopped and helped put out the fire before there was much damage,” said Guaba. “After that incident, we looked at the cameras and realized it was the same woman who had returned.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate fires set at an Albuquerque mosque as a possible hate crime. “Silence and inaction in the face of growing hate nationwide only provides encouragement to bigots targeting all minority communities,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
A spokesperson for APD says they are assisting the FBI in the investigation. If you have any information on the fire, call 505-242-COPS.