The fire at the site of a proposed mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was started and spread by the use of an accelerant, according to the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). The damaged items include an earth mover and three other vehicles.
The ATF and the FBI have stated that there are no suspects at this time. They are offering a $20,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest in the ongoing investigation.
FBI Assistant Special Agent in Nashville, Keith Moses, held a press conference where he addressed the investigation. He stated that someone knew what happened. He also said that whether or not it was a hate crime would be assessed once suspects were found and the motive revealed.
Camie Ayash, spokeswoman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, spoke of how the center had silently hoped for the best, while knowing in their minds that it was intentional. Earlier in the week, she had stated that fear had risen among the local Islamic community, and that the children were taking it the hardest. She said the center has chosen to use private security at the site from now on.
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office is helping as well. They have increased patrolling of the site since the fire.
Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom held a candlelight vigil on Monday night in response to the fire. About 100 people showed up to show their support for the Islamic center.
The controversy around the center surprises many, as the congregation has been meeting at a building a mile away for over a decade.