Muslim Community Concerned Recent Fires May Be Hate Crimes

April 4, 2004

Source: Express-News

On April 4, 2004 the Express-News reported, "Two arson fires less than a week apart at Muslim-owned gas stations on the North Side [of San Antonio, T.X.] have some in the Muslim community worried that the crimes might have been motivated by hate. Though arson investigators haven't uncovered a link, chilling similarities have members of the Muslim community asking authorities to look closely at the possibility that the businesses were targeted because of their owners' religion. 'My feeling is, we don't have the proof, so we can't say for sure,' said Nazli Siddiqui, an employment consultant. 'But in this time and age it's something we need to look into. It's just concern. There's no anger, there's no talk about vigilantes being organized. It's just a concern that it might continue and more people might become targets.' The first fire was set at Zia Abbasi's Texaco station in the 7000 block of UTSA Boulevard on March 24. The second was at Ameen Jiveni's Kwik Pantry in the 6400 block of Camp Bullis Road on March 29. Both fires were set in similar fashion � someone doused an outside wall with gasoline and lit it � and were set at the same time of night, about 3 a.m. Investigators also found melted red plastic gasoline containers among the charred debris at both fires. Arson detectives are investigating the fires and don't have a suspect or a motive."