“The damage on the back building is total,” Houston Fire Department district chief Ken Tyner told reporters. “The whole entire building back there is burned up.”
Inspectors have told local media that they now believe an “accelerant” was used to set the fire.
This was enough for some to say the event was clearly a hate crime against Muslims including the Texas office of the Council on American Islamic Relations which has called for possible hate crime motivations to be investigated. However, police have so far declined to say the arson was motivated by race or religion. The FBI has said they are watching the results of any investigation before they make their own determination.
If it was, however, it would be the third attack on Muslims over the course of just a few days this week. Earlier in the week, three Muslims were shot and killed in North Carolina and an Arab-American father was beaten in front of his two young children in Michigan by two white men who called him “raghead.”