Fire officials are investigating a “suspicious” Christmas morning blaze that destroyed a vacant home on the property of a mosque in Dalton.

Whitfield County Fire Chief Carl Collins says graffiti with expletives was found inside the burned out three-bedroom brick house that sits on the same land as the future home of the Dalton Islamic Center. Construction on the center began in early December despite opposition from local residents concerned that the mosque would cause traffic problems in the neighborhood.

Mosque president Hammad El-Ameen says he believes someone is trying the send the mosque a message. He says the group had no problems until construction began on the new building in December, just a few weeks before the blaze.

El-Ameen says about 80 people attend services in a smaller center.

 

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