Police in Peterborough are confirming a case of arson after a Mosque caught fire Saturday evening,
Emergency services were notified by a neighbour who saw smoke coming from the Masjid Al-Salaam Mosque at 784 Parkhill Road around 11 p.m.
According to Kenzu Abdellah, president of the Kawartha Muslim Association, the fire seem to be isolated to one corner of the mosque.
Firefighters contained the fire to one area of the building, but smoke caused a lot of damage. Overall damage is estimated around $80,000.
Peterborough Police released a statement Sunday saying the Ontario Fire Marshal had determined the fire was deliberately set.
We condemn attacks on innocents & their place of worship. Citizens asked to come forward to us with any info on fire at Mosque.-Chief Rodd
— Peterborough Police (@PtboPolice) November 15, 2015
Abdellah says the suspicious fire is a shock to him, because members of the mosque have had a friendly relationship with the community.
“The Muslim community has a very good relationship with the Peterborough community,” he said. “We had an open house just last year, and the mayor was here.”
In a statement on Monday, police said they are treating the fire as a hate crime, saying it was obviously an attack targeted at a group of individuals. Officials also say they don’t have any link to believe it has anything to do with the recent attacks in Paris.
Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett issued a statement condemning the fire, saying “Attacking a place of worship is a despicable act. The name of the mosque, means mosque of peace.”
The Fire Department is estimating around $80,000 worth of damages. As of 1 p.m. on Monday, an online donation page had raised over $80,000 in funds toward repairs.