New Zealand bans assault rifles just six days after the Christchurch shootings.
California police say they are investigating a fire at a mosque as an arson and a hate crime after graffiti that made reference to the deadly New Zealand mosque attacks was found at the scene.
The incident happened early Sunday about 30 miles north of San Diego in Escondido, police said in a release. Police say the graffiti was left by the suspected arsonist.
Seven people were in the mosque at the time, but no one was injured, police say. The fire caused minor damage to the outside of the building.
The San Diego office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the incident: “It is disturbing enough that some sick individual would attempt to burn a house of worship to the ground, but referencing the slayings in New Zealand is beyond the pale,” Executive Director Dustin Craun said in a written statement.
The statement says the California incident was motivated by the “same hatred” held by a gunman who killed 50 people in a terrorist attack on two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.
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Police believe the fire was set with an accelerant, but there are no suspects as of Tuesday, The New York Times reported. The fire, which scorched an outside wall, was put out using a fire extinguisher, the newspaper reports, citing police.
Escondido police said Sunday that Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agents are assisting with the investigation.
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