Video shows arsonist targeting Islamic Center

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – KRQE News 13 has obtained surveillance video from the Mosque hit by a Molotov cocktail.

Albuquerque police are asking for the public’s help in catching whoever threw that fire bomb early last Friday morning.

The arsonist came from the street near Yale Boulevard, ran through the gate toward the Mosque, and cameras on the side of the building captured it all. Surveillance cameras were rolling around 4 a.m. when someone lit a Molotov cocktail, and threw it directly at the Islamic Center in Albuquerque.

“Definitely people were angry, people were hurt,” said Shafi N. Abdul Aziz, Imam at the Mosque.

APD asked News 13 to refrain from showing any cars in the video, to keep from hindering their investigation.

The Molotov cocktail scorched the side of the building where women and kids meet. No one was at the Mosque at the time.

Although the video is dark, the person is visible lingering near the building, struggling to light the fire bomb.

“We controlled our anger because Islam says that we have to forgive, we have to pardon, this was the general reaction,” said Imam Shafi.

Mosque leaders said this isn’t the first time they’ve been targeted. Imam Shafi said someone came at him with a knife two years ago, although he wasn’t hurt.

Since Friday, he said there’s been an outpouring of support from the community. “Churches have been with us in solidarity and they have been opposing this sincerely and strongly, because we don’t want it to happen to anyone,” said Imam Shafi.

Video shows the person running away after tossing the flaming bottle. While people at the Mosque said they don’t understand the motive, they hope police track the arsonist down.

“Whether it happened to us, or to Jewish, or Christians, or Atheist, that is not something to be condoned,” said Imam Shafi. “We promote tolerance, we promote love, we promote unity, we promote safety for all.”

In the surveillance video, the person runs back across the street, but it’s unclear if there’s a car waiting for the getaway.

The FBI is assisting Albuquerque police with this investigation. An APD spokesperson said they do not have any suspects yet. Until investigators know more, they don’t know if it’s a hate crime.

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