Arson Scatters Mosque Members

April 21, 2007


Source: St. Petersburg Times

TAMPA - Their mosque destroyed by arson, they had promised to keep holding Friday prayers.

They thought they could make do with a tent. But no one prayed on the grounds of the Islamic Education Center of Tampa that day, about a week after an arsonist burned the prayer hall, leaving behind only singed prayer rugs, charred Korans and a gasoline can.

The arson, still unsolved, caused more than $100,000 damage to the prayer hall. The building wasn't insured.

The tent proved expensive to rent, and mosque leaders haven't decided what to do. They said they looked for a rental, but didn't have any luck.

"It's not that easy to just pick up and find some other place," said Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Worshippers scattered to other mosques.