The Palm Springs Masjid, a mosque located in the town of Coachella in Southern California, was fire-bombed Dec. 11 just before Jummah, Friday afternoon prayers, while some people were still praying inside.
No immediate injuries were reported, but there has been significant damage done to the mosque itself.
According to reports from the Riverside, Calif., Sheriff’s Department, the Coachella Fire Department received a call at 12:11 p.m. regarding a possible arson at the mosque, also known as the Islamic Society of Coachella Valley. The Coachella Fire Department quickly contained the fire.
KMIR, a local news station, reported the fire was started with a molotov cocktail to the front lobby of the Islamic Society of Coachella Valley. At least two other local news outlets confirmed from officials that the mosque was “fire-bombed.”
Ray Brewster, a security employee with the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley, was on the scene and described a “mushroom cloud” of smoke at the scene.
The Coachella mosque attacked today was shot at last year, with 6 bullets hitting the building and a parked car. Authorities treated that incident as a hate crime, but the suspect was never found.
As CNN reported, this mosque is just one of many Muslim worship centers attacked this past year, with attacks on Muslims at a record-high in 2015. Earlier this year, a mosque in Connecticut was shot at, and death threats threats were called into mosques in Florida, Virginia and Maryland.
So far, 2015 has been the most dangerous year for American Muslims, with 63 recorded attacks against mosques since January. The previous record was 53 attacks, in 2010. There have been three times as many attacks against Muslim worship centers this year than in 2014.
There have been multiple attacks against Muslims in this week alone, just days after Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called for all Muslims to be banned from the US and for Muslim Americans to be denied re-entry to the US should they leave the country. Also this week, a red pickup truck threw a pig’s head at the front door of a mosque in Philadelphia, a young girl in New York City wearing a hijab was assaulted by classmates who called her ISIS, and a Muslim store owner in Queens, New York was viciously assaulted by a random customer.