ADELANTO - The fire that leveled a rural mosque here was not fueled by the flames of hatred, authorities said Monday. "There is no evidence it was a hate crime,' said Robin Haynal, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, which is investigating with the help of the county Fire Department and FBI. "They don't even have anything pointing toward arson.” The blaze erupted at 4:24 a.m. Friday in the mosque at the United Islamic Youth Organization Cemetery, two miles north of Southern California Logistics Airport. Other parts of the cemetery likely would have been desecrated if the fire had been hate motivated, fire and sheriff's officials said. But some Muslims wonder if it is more than coincidence that cemetery buildings were burglarized four times during the two weeks before the mosque burned.
"There was no reason for a mosque to be gutted down like that unless there was someone who did it deliberately,' said Aslam Abdullah, director of the Muslim Electorates' Council of America, a group that encourages Muslims to vote. "Somebody has to ask the question: Why is this happening? Is it because of what is happening in Iraq or is it happening because of the hate speech on radio shows and television stations against Muslims?' said Abdullah, of Fontana. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, there has been a surge of reported hate crimes against Muslims. Many Muslim leaders have blamed this increase on fear-mongers who speak as if all Islam's followers are extremists like Osama bin Laden. (MORE)