Thursday, May 10, 2012
A fire that destroyed a Wichita mosque is now being investigated as arson.
The fire broke out at the Islamic Association of Mid-Kansas Oct. 31 around 12:45 a.m. The fire caused an estimated $130,000 in damage.
Abdelkarim Jibril, Islamic Association of Mid-Kansas President, said he and his members were heartbroken to find out the fire was set intentionally.
"I was hoping that it was not because that would have been better for the community. Hopefully it is not a hate crime," said Jibril.
Capt. Stuart Bevis, Wichita Fire, said the fire remained under investigation for some time due to technical analysis being performed in Maryland. Investigators have determined the fire was set intentionally.
"Unfortunately all the ground work we laid, we still don't have any real leads on who is responsible, who was at that mosque that early morning that set this fire. So, once again we're looking for the public's help," said Bevis.
The Wichita Police department, the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Federal Bureau of Investigation assisted with the case.
Jibril said he received a few anti-Islam letters last year, but the letters had stopped shortly before the fire.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Wichita Fire Department Fire Investigation Unit at 316-337-9146 or Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.