Fire At Mosque Construction Site In Tennessee Ruled Arson

Demonstrators and counter-demonstrators at a July 14 rally in Murfreesboro TN to protest building of a mosque.

Does anyone realistically expect that this isn't going to get worse? Nope, it only takes one moron to start a chain reaction and the odds are in favor of increasing violence as long as we have Fox News egging people on:

Federal officials are investigating a fire that started overnight at the site of a new Islamic center in a Nashville suburb.

Ben Goodwin of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department confirmed to CBS Affiliate WTVF that the fire, which burned construction equipment at the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, is being ruled as arson.

Special Agent Andy Anderson of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told CBS News that the fire destroyed one piece of construction equipment and damaged three others. Gas was poured over the equipment to start the fire, Anderson said.

The ATF, FBI and Rutherford County Sheriff's Office are conducting a joint investigation into the fire, Anderson said.

WTVF reports firefighters were alerted by a passerby who saw flames at the site. One large earth hauler was set on fire before the suspect or suspects left the scene.

The chair of the center's planning committee, Essim Fathy, said he drove to the site at around 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning after he was contacted by the sheriff's department.

"Our people and community are so worried of what else can happen," said Fathy. "They are so scared."

The fire was smoldering by the time Fathy and the center's imam, Ossama Bahloul, had arrived. Fathy was told that responders had smelled gasoline near the fire.

Just as you see in the demonstration video, there are people standing up for religious freedom:

Claire Rogers, spokeswoman for Middle Tennesseans for Religious Freedom, said the organization has planned a candlelight vigil in front of the Rutherford County Courthouse on Monday in response to the fire. The vigil, scheduled for 7 p.m., will encourage supporters and opponents of the mosque to demonstrate for a community free of violence, arson or other intimidation tactics, she said.

"We simply cannot allow the actions of a few destructive individuals to go overlooked by Rutherford County residents," Rogers said. "It's truly a shame that we have reached this point, but it is up to us to ensure the intimidation goes no further."


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.