The Muslim leader and the Catholic priest stood together Sunday amid the ashes of a mosque destroyed by arson.

“This type of act isn’t going to frighten us off,” said Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Worshippers, he said, have pledged to build a bigger mosque in its place.

The Rev. Canon Francis V. Tiso stood with him near the window where fire officials think the arsonist poured gasoline through before setting the Islamic house of worship ablaze.

“The Catholic church is standing with any house of worship that is being damaged or burned or smeared with graffiti,” said Tiso, who helps lead the Catholic bishops’ interreligious affairs office in Washington, D.C.


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