Stockton mosque fire was arson, say investigators

7:52 PM, May 25, 2011   |    comments
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STOCKTON, CA - Fire investigators have determined a fire that burned down the Masjid Al Emaan mosque in Stockton April 23 was deliberately set.

The blaze also damaged a real estate business on the 4200 block of Pershing Avenue.

Wednesday, fire officials released images of the suspected arsonist. He wore a plastic bag over his head as he entered and left the mosque.

At this time, the fire is not considered to be a hate crime, said Stockton Deputy Fire Chief Paul Willette.

"They're not closing that door on that, but at this point there's no evidence to suggest it's a hate crime or a terrorist act."

The mosque's membership has since moved to the opposite end of the property. The imam said he is not worried about the public knowing the mosque's new whereabouts, because he doesn't think it will be targeted a second time.

"I think it's probably someone who likes to play with fire. And we'll see the end of it," said Imam Ibrahim Skafi.

Skafi did not recognize the man in the surveillance video.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the identity of the person responsible for the fire.


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