Fire set at Fort Pierce mosque on start of Holy Eid al Adha holiday

Posted at 7:00 PM, Sep 12, 2016

The fire that erupted at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce happened as many in the Muslim faith were getting ready to start the holy holiday of Eid Al Adha.

The Muslim Friends of Florida Islamic Center, also in Fort Pierce, opened its doors this morning to people who couldn't worship at their regular mosque because of the fire.

Wilfredo Ruiz, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations says, "imagine you on Christmas Day in the Christian community ready to celebrate and exchange gifts and the first thing you hear is that your church has been fire bombed."

Eid al Adha means "Festival of Sacrifice." This Muslim Holy Day commemorates the day when Prophet Abraham was going to sacrifice his son, but was instructed by God to offer an animal instead.

Wilfredo Ruiz adds, "this completely disrupted not this day but disrupted the religious practice of this community that are not able to worship in their mosque."

After morning prayers, Muslim families continue the holiday with big meals, exchanging gifts and celebrations. While leaders call this a sad day, they won't let it shake their faith.

Imam Hamaad Rahman says, "obviously this is a day of joy and celebration for us so for this to happen on the morning of our biggest celebration of the year, it was something horrific and everybody is obviously saddened and scared about it but our community is bigger than a building"

The Council on American Islamic Relations says they don't know if this attack was purposely done on the start of their religious  holiday, but they call the arson a hate crime nonetheless.

They do say they plan to start using the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce as a place of worship again as soon as they are able.