Texas Town Rallies Behind Muslims After Mosque Burns (Video)

The Victoria Islamic Center in Texas caught fire and burned on Jan. 28, but local townsfolk are rallying behind the Muslim worshippers who were displaced (video below).

“It is just breaking the heart because this is the place, everyday we are here," Imam Osama Hassan told Voice Of America. "You cannot imagine seeing the fire. I never thought in my life I would see that."

Local police and the FBI are investigating the cause of the fire.

"As you can see from the site there is nothing left," Hassan added.

Hassan is hoping the fire was an accident, not a hate crime.

Several hundred locals gathered at the site of burned mosque on Jan. 29 to show unity and to conduct an inter-faith prayer service.

One of the participants, Rev. Dan Fultz, told Voice Of America: "We are not a divided community on these kinds of issues. Muslims in Victoria are members of the community just like everybody else."

Catholic priests and Jewish leaders have offered their structures for the Muslims to meet in, but Hassan says the worshippers are using a school building at the Islamic Center that was untouched by the fire; however, it lacks electricity and water.

The Muslims set up a GoFundMe page to raise $850,000 to rebuild, but have already passed the $1 million mark. The GoFundMe page issued thanks to donors:

Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the tremendous support we've received. The outpouring of love, kind words, hugs, helping hands and the financial contributions are examples of the true American Spirit and Humanity at its best with donations coming in from all over the world. We're so very much thankful and appreciative of everyone's thoughtfulness and generosity.

Hassan, a Texas resident for 15 years, is grateful for the support of locals and those around the world who have donated online.

"Hopefully, we will be able to start the building again by the love and the kindness of the people around us," Hassan told Voice Of America.

Sources: Voice Of America, Victoria Islamic Center Rebuilding/GoFundMe, Skype via YouTube / Photo credit: Texas City Map Blog

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