Authorities are investigating a firebomb attack on a mosque in Tracy, California that took place on Sunday as a hate crime.
“It exploded all over the place,” Mohammed Arain, president of the Islamic Center, said of the molotov cocktail that hit the mosque.
No one was inside the mosque at the time, and the Islamic Center’s surveillance camera was not on, but the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office collected shards of glass from the scene to test.
“[In the] last 15 years, we’ve never called the Sheriff’s Department,” Arain said. “[It’s the] first time.”
No one was injured in the attack, but it has made congregants feel ill at ease at a time when more and more mosques and Muslims have come under fire.
“It doesn’t happen accidentally, so they have certain hate involved,” Saifi Raniwala, a member of the Islamic Center’s board of trustees said.
There has been a spike in attacks against mosques and people who appear to be Muslim after the Islamist militant attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, as well as a spike in the virulently anti-Muslim rhetoric issued from public officials in their wake.
In Houston, authorities are investigating a Christmas Day fire at a mosque in that city as “suspicious.” Police in California’s Riverside County are also investigating a fire at a mosque earlier this month that appeared to have been set intentionally.
On Sunday, police arrested a man who posted threats to Muslims along with images of a homemade pipe bomb on social media.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil rights organization, said that it has tallied more than 70 attacks targeting mosques and Muslim organizations so far in 2015.
“More mosque incidents were recorded in 2015 than in any year since we started keeping this tally,” CAIR said in a statement.