Early Sunday morning, a fire at a mosque in Escondido, California was set while the building was occupied.
Seven people were inside the Dar-ul-Arqam mosque in Escondido when early Sunday morning an external wall was set ablaze. The fire was reported to emergency personnel at 3:15 am. None of the people in the building were injured.
Officers responding to the emergency call found graffiti on the mosque's driveway that made references to the recent shooting at two mosques in New Zealand. Those shootings left 50 people dead, and another several dozen people injured.
The shooter who carried out the New Zealand attacks had written a 74-page manifesto that that was full of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim content.
Lieutenant Chris Lick with the local police in Escondido did not specify what the graffiti said, but he did say it "mentioned the New Zealand incidents — let’s leave it at that.”
The seven people inside the Escondido mosque at the time of the attack were there performing itikaf, meaning they were there for a religious seclusion ritual.
Karem Elhams, a local member of the Muslim congregation, said that the perpetrator, "ran off when people inside the mosque preparing for morning prayer heard some noise outside and went to see what was happening and were able to scare him off."
I have spent a fair amount of time criticizing religion, including Islam, but these kinds of attacks only destroy lives and ruin any chance for meaningful dialogue.