An unknown assailant threw a Molotov cocktail, crafted from a wine bottle stuffed with a rag and accelerant, at the Tracy Islamic Center, causing fire damage to the building. KCRA reported that the building was empty at the time of the attack and no one was injured.
San Joaquin police lieutenant Mike Van Grouw, who is looking into the incident, told KCRA that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
“Just because it’s a house of worship, it would be investigated as a hate crime,” Van Grouw said.
In a public statement, Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations, called the recent spike in crimes targeting mosques “unprecedented.”
He told KCRA that in 2015 there have been “over 70 incidents around the nation of mosques being vandalized, firebombed, protests against them."
On Christmas Day, a mosque in Houston, Texas suffered severe damage due to a fire that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said was likely an act of arson.