A mosque in Edson, Alberta was set on fire late Saturday night, shortly after evening prayers had ended and as attendees were walking to their vehicles.
According to a release from Edson RCMP, the fire did minor damage, as it failed to fully engulf the structure. Police are currently investigating, and have determined that the fire was “suspicious” in nature.
A Facebook post from The Edson Mosque page states that the incident took place at approximately 11 pm, and that witnesses and security camera footage confirmed that a hooded male approached the mosque from the south entrance and set the building alight.
Photos from the Edson Mosque Facebook page shows that only a portion of the door and wall were burned before the fire was put out by the Edson Fire Department.
“The brazen attack occurred with witnesses in the parking lot and on a day of celebration for Muslims around the world as they celebrate an end of Ramadan. The witnesses called 911 and the fire department responded very quickly along with RCMP,” the Facebook post states.
“We are very thankful that the fire department responded so quickly and that the fire did not cause more damage.”
This is the first attack against the mosque in Edson, which was first opened in 2013.
“Although we are gravely concerned about this attack on the mosque while Muslims were present, we know this is an isolated incident and does not reflect upon the community in Edson,” the post states.
“The Muslim community feel very safe with its neighbours and the Town of Edson and understand that this incident is isolated and does not reflect the views of [the] majority of our fellow Canadians.”
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley made a statement in response to the fire on Sunday condemning the actions of the arsonist and calling the incident “sickening.”
“I know I speak for the overwhelming majority of my fellow citizens in condemning this violence in the strongest possible terms,” the statement reads.
“Alberta’s Muslim community contributes enormously to the cultural and economic fabric of our province, something we saw on proud display just a couple days ago at Eid al-Fitr events across Alberta. To learn someone set fire to a mosque just after evening prayers is sickening.”
— Rachel Notley (@RachelNotley) June 18, 2018
Notley said that Alberta stands with the Muslim community against acts of hate like the one seen in Edson and that such racist attacks “[hurt] all Albertans.”
“On behalf of the Province of Alberta, I want to express our collective commitment to fighting racism in all its forms.”
The Edson RCMP is asking anyone with information on the incident or the identity/identities of the culprit(s) responsible to contact them at the Edson RCMP complaint line at 780-723-8800, or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online through their website.