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Mosque torched in US, man arrested

IANS | Washington |

A mosque was badly burnt outside Seattle city and the police arrested a 37-year-old man in connection with the incident, saying that the fire was intentionally set, CNN reported.

The incident occurred on Saturday in Bellevue, Washington, when no one was inside the Islamic Centre of Eastside, said the report on Sunday.

Firefighters spotted 40-foot flames on the back side of the building. "Crews were able to save half of the building," CNN affiliate KCPQ reported.

"We have confirmed it was arson, but do not know a motive," Bellevue Police chief Steve Mylett said. A man, identified as Isaac Wayne Wilson, was charged with felony malicious mischief and is being investigated for arson, Mylett said.

The suspect was found lying on the ground at the back of the building and is currently at the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle.

Investigators were not currently considering the act a hate crime, said the report.

Deputy prosecutor Mike Hogan said that "the suspect had prior contacts with the mosque and had previously been arrested for making a disturbance at the mosque."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations in a Facebook post urged people "not to jump to conclusions about the motive" and said "please give authorities time to investigate."

The facility, also known as the Bellevue Masjid, is closed until further notice "due to the fire," its website said.