CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Islamic center where a Somali teen worshipped, before he was arrested for planning a Christmas-related terrorist attack, has been hit by arson.
A Sunday morning fire at the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center looks like it was intentionally set, said Carla Pusateri, a fire prevention officer for the Corvallis Fire Department.
Pusateri said "quite a bit of evidence" was left at the scene. No injuries were reported.
The arson attack comes two days after 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud was arrested for plotting a terror strike via car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony Friday in Portland.
Yosof Wanly, imam at the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center, told the Associated Press that Mohamud was a normal student who attended sporting events, drank beer in moderation and was into rap music. Mohamud was described as a religious individual but wasn't a frequent worshipper at the mosque.
The AP says: The fire on Sunday was contained to one room, burning 80 percent of the center's office, Wanly said. The worship areas were untouched. Wanly has been advised by friends to take his family out of their home, and to "another person's house due to the possibility of hate crimes," he said. "I'm going to look into it, especially because my face has been on the news a lot." Wanly said the local populace has always been accepting of Muslims."
"The common scene here is to be very friendly, accepting various cultures and religions," Wanly said. "The Islamic center has been here for 40 years, it's more American than most Americans with regards to age."