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TAMPA (CBSMiami) – A fire that damaged a Tampa-area mosque early Friday has been ruled an act of arson.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue got word of the fire at the Islamic Society of New Tampa around 2 a.m. When they arrived they found flames near the entrance. The fire did not damage the inside of the building, however, smoke and the building’s sprinkler system did.

Fire investigators said all evidence points to the fire being intentionally set. There was no one inside the building when the was set.

Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida, said it appears to have been a hate crime, according to CBS affiliate WTSP-TV in Tampa.

Morning prayers were moved to another building. Afternoon prayers may be canceled due to the damage to the hall.


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