By Steve Neavling
The FBI and ATF have joined an investigation into a fire that gutted the Islamic Center of Ypsilanti in Michigan.
No one was in the building, which also includes a mosque, when the fire broke out, ClickOnDetroit.com reports.
“The FBI is currently working with the Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety and the ATF to determine the cause of fire that occurred at the Islamic Community Center,” the FBI said in a statement. “If in the course of investigation, information is developed suggesting a hate crime or another federal crime, logical investigation will be conducted to identify the individual(s) responsible and authorities will coordinate with the United States Attorney’s Office to identify the best course of action towards prosecution.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement Sunday afternoon:
“We urge state and federal agencies to use their full resources to investigate this fire to determine a cause and, if it is determined to be arson, a possible motive,” said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid. “Anyone who has information about this fire, or saw anything suspicious at the time of the blaze, should immediately contact law enforcement authorities.”
Authorities said the fire appears to be suspicious.
Muslims have been the targets of hate crimes at increasing rates since Donald Trump became president.