California authorities are investigating an alleged arson attack at an Escondido mosque early Sunday after the suspect left a note referencing the terrorist attacks in New Zealand that killed 50 people on March 15, KNSD reported.
The fire broke out at 3:15 a.m. at the Dar-ul-Arqam mosque, the television station reported.
"If it’s an arson, it’s possibly a hate crime as well," Escondido Police Department Lt. Chris Lick told KNSD.
Lick said the note was found in the parking lot of the mosque but did not reveal its contents, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The fire caused minor damage to the building's exterior, the newspaper reported.
Seven people were inside the mosque when the fire broke out, KNSD reported. They were able to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher.
Yusef Miller, a member of the Muslim community in Escondido, told KNSD it was fortunate the fire happened before the early morning prayer service.
"God bless that it didn’t happen that way,” MIller told the television station. “We’re not surprised by this incident," Miller said. "But, we’re very on edge right now.”
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