Suspicious fire destroys Geelong mosque in Australian state of Victoria

Victoria (IINA) – A mosque has been destroyed by suspicious fire in Geelong, the second largest city of the Australian state of Victoria, causing serious material damage to the building and its contents but there were no casualties or injuries, news agencies reported Wednesday.
Inspector Graham Banks from Victoria Police said he did not believe someone had deliberately targeted the mosque, but it may be linked to a recent string of church fires.
“This is one of a series of fires against places of worship in the Geelong area. There’s been four since October last year,” he said.
He added that the police are conducting an investigation to determine the circumstances of the incident and arrest the perpetrators, calling on Muslim community in Melbourne and the state of Victoria in general to exercise prudence and restraint.
In turn, Imam of the mosque Sheikh Mohammad Ramzan said in a press statement that the mosque hadn’t attracted any negative attention in the community.
“In 23 years we did not have any trouble, rather we have compliments,” he said.
“We have a very love based relationship with the neighborhood. We haven’t received any threats. We have a very nice and good relationship with everyone, Sheikh Ramzan added.
He said the mosque would operate out of a hall at the site, which was unscathed in the fire, stressing that the local Muslim community will rebuild the mosque, whether the blaze was arson or accidental.
AB/IINA

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