Is it a random act of violence or is the Islamic community in Dalton the target of a hate crime?
That's what investigators are trying to figure out after a fire destroys part of what will become a new place of worship for Muslims.
Early Christmas morning fire tears through a three-bedroom house that's on the Dug Gap Road site where the new Dalton Islamic Center is being built.
Hammad El-Ameen, President of the Dalton Islamic Center, said "it's devastating because it's a security factor, we're concerned for our families, our children. So we want to set a precedent right now and find out and prosecute who did this."
Whitfield County Fire Chief Carl Collins says the fire damage is concentrated inside what was the attic and spread from a back bedroom to the rest of the $100,000 building.
Even though Chief Collins says he has his suspicions this fire was deliberately set he says his investigators still haven't found any evidence, right now at least, that an accelerant was used, like gasoline or kerosene.
"We're still looking into some different things. It is suspicious in the fact there was no power on it," Chief Collins said.
So, who would do this? There is graffiti inside - could this be the work of local gangs? Or could this be the dirty-work of someone who doesn't want Muslim worship in their neighborhood? [Link]
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