TEXAS: An online donation drive to rebuild a mosque that was gutted by fire in Victoria in the US state of Texas has raised more than $780,000, demonstrating the overwhelming goodwill from people in the city and beyond.
The Islamic Center of Victoria was destroyed in early morning fire on Saturday when nobody was in the building in Victoria city, about 185-km southwest of Houston.
The incident occurred within hours of President Donald Trump announcing a ban on citizens from seven Muslim majority countries to enter the United States.
“A gofundme.com page set up to raise funds to rebuild the mosque demonstrated the overwhelming goodwill from supporters in Victoria, the state of Texas, the US and beyond. As of 10:45 PM Sunday, the page had raised more than $780,000 since its creation the previous day,” Victoria Advocate newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people prayed and communed yesterday at the burned ruins of the mosque in a show of community solidarity. Religious leaders of varying faiths and backgrounds led an emotional crowd, the paper said.
At least four churches and a synagogue have offered the use of their own houses of worship for the displaced members of the now-destroyed mosque.
The Islamic center’s president, Shahid Hashmi, refused to speculate about whether it was arson, but said the building was burglarised a week ago.
The mosque, built in 2000, was the victim of a burglary on January 21 and in July 2013, a man admitted painting H8 - short hand for hate - on one of the mosque’s outside walls.
With authorities in the early stages of their investigation, mosque member Abe Ajrami asked people to avoid jumping to conclusions and politicizing the tragedy.