TAMPA – Dozens of children are scheduled to arrive at the Islamic Education Center of Tampa for their weekly lesson on Arabic language and social behavior today, two days after someone set fire to their prayer room and destroyed the inside of the building.

Islamic center leaders had not decided whether they will allow the children to view the torched interior, which they believe was burned in an act of hate.

“I think we will not let them see it,” said Jabbar Al-Mashahdani, a member of the board of directors at the center. “I don’t want them to hurt inside.”

Al-Mashahdani’s thoughts came on the heels of an announcement by the Council on American-Islamic Relations Friday that a $10,000 reward has been established for the arrest and conviction of the culprits. The reward includes $1,000 from CrimeStoppers.


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