On Sunday, May 12th, the New Haven Diyanet Mosque had a two-alarm blaze that started on the first floor and extended to the second.
What We Know:
- During a news conference on Monday, May 13th, Fire Chief John Alston provided an update on the investigation of the incident. “We detect that there is intent in this fire. This was intentionally set.” Alston did not state what evidence they had to determine this outcome.
- Police Chief Otoniel Reyes has advised that they will not be discussing the investigation. This is to maintain the integrity of the situation. They have offered a reward of $2500 for any information that may help lead to an arrest.
- The mosque was under construction at the time of the fire. According to Mosque President Haydar Elevli, they were only a few months away from completion. Elevli states that he is not sure about the extent of the damage at this time. He also mentions that the Muslim community and Turkish government will raise funds to repair the damage. In fact, there have been multiple funding pages launched in an effort to help that have raised over $150,000.
- Several local churches have reached out to Elevli to let them use their buildings for Sunday church service. Elevli has not made a decision on which church they will be using during the repairs.
- Governor Ned Lamont stated “The one thing I find hopeful is, I heard from the imam (that) other houses of worship, churches and synagogues, have stepped forward and said, ‘We want to help.’ And what I heard here from the folks at this mosque is they welcome the help, but they want to worship right here in this place. And we’re going to do everything we can to make that happen.”
- The fire at the mosque occurred during the holy month of Ramadan, an annual observance of Muslims including fasting, prayer, reflection, and a focus on community.
It seems the community near and far are acting out Ramadan focus of community and stepping in to assist. The investigation is ongoing but we hope the culprit is apprehended soon.