– The fire was discovered by a convenience store clerk at around 2am and the fire service was called in
– The mosque, which is called Islamic Centre of Victoria, was entirely destroyed despite great effort by the fire service department to stop the blaze
– US authorities say they cannot confirm yet if it was an attack by an arsonist but the Islamic Centre’s president Shahid Hashmi said the Imam discovered that the alarm were inactive and doors unlocked in surveillance footage
A mosque in Texas has been burned down by a fire just hours after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning entry to citizens of seven Muslim countries.
Daily Mail UK reports that the fire started in the early hours of Saturday, January 28 and was discovered by a clerk at a convenience store who spotted smoke and flames coming out of the Islamic Centre of Victoria at about 2am.
The Islamic Centre’s president Shahid Hashmi said the imam, who was awake, discovered on the mosque’s online surveillance that the alarm had been deactivated and the doors were unlocked.
Hashmi said: “He was worried about it and drove over there. By that time, fire engines were already there pouring water on the fire.
“It’s sad to stand there and watch it collapse down, and the fire was so huge.”
It was not clear what exactly happened and US authorities said it was too early to speculate.
Hashmi said: “We don’t have any lead or information as to what started the fire and what happened.
“So I’m sure it’s going to be a few days, they told us, before they can come up with any answers for us.”
There were no reports of injuries recorded.
The mosque has been subject of attacks in recent times. Daily Mail UK report that “just last week, someone broke into the mosque and stole a number of electronics, including laptops”.
Recall that Trump on Friday, January 27 signed an executive order stopping refugees fleeing killings in Syria to from entering the U.S. indefinitely.
Premium Times quoted Trump as saying that the order would keep “radical Islamic terrorists” from entering the country and also give priority entry attention to Christians and other minority religious groups from predominantly Muslim countries like Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
“We don’t want them here. We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people,” he said.
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Brooklyn has issued a nationwide, emergency stay on Saturday night to allow people with a valid visa to remain once they’ve landed in the US.
The decision did not strike down the executive order, and is only temporary.