San Diego mosques are beefing up security in the wake of a fire at the Islamic Center of Escondido over the weekend which police are investigating as a hate crime.
Increased security was seen at a Clairemont mosque as well as the one targeted by an unknown arsonist in Escondido, but according to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) how each mosque in the country handles its own security moving forward will be different.
In Escondido the hunt continues for the arsonist behind a fire that broke out at the Islamic Center of Escondido. No one was injured and those inside were able to put out the flames. Investigators also found graffiti that referenced the New Zealand terrorist attacks.
Dustin Craun is the executive director of CAIR. He said in the wake of the increased threat to the Muslim community, each mosque is taking separate precautions.
“Most of the mosques have some security and or apparatus in place and they might be stepping it up a little – but those are different conversations at the mosques, he said.
Despite the attack, Craun said he is encouraged by the response from neighboring communities. He hopes it sends a message to the attacker.
“I believe white supremacy is a disease in people’s hearts and they need to be educated and understand why they are living in such a state of fear. There is so much to live for in our world,” said Craun.
Tammy Gillies is the regional director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). She said hate crimes against Muslims and other worshipers is on the rise in America.
“It is on the rise. Twenty-four percent in anti-Muslim hate crimes and 26 percent in anti-Semitic hate crimes. This is America. You should be able to go into your house of worship and feel safe. There is no place for hate in San Diego, there should be no place for hate anywhere,” she said.
Gillies said it is up to everyone to help stop these attacks from happening.
“We have to come together as a community to be vigilant against these kinds of attacks,” she said.
Anyone with information about the investigation is encouraged to contact the Escondido Police Department.