This past Friday, a part of the Quba Islamic Institute in Houston went up in flames, and it took local firefighters over an hour to put it out. The school and mosque portions of the school were saved, but controversy has already surfaced due to the fire. Not only has arson been suspected, but a firefighter even posted comments during the fire saying, “Let it burn…block the fire hydrant.”
The Washington Times has reported that arson is indeed suspected in the fire as fire officials in Houston say an accelerant was used. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called on state and federal authorities to investigate the possibility of a hate crime.
While dealing with the fire and possible hate crime, there is also the situation with Dustin Herron, a retired Houston-area firefighter and now former volunteer for Crystal Beach Fire & Rescue.
As the fire was at full force and news stations were reporting it, Herron hopped on Facebook and posted an extremely hateful message.
“Let it burn…block the fire hyrdant”
Since his words spread out and got more attention, a lot of hatred actually came Herron’s way via social media. Opposing Views stated that it was then that a representative for the Crystal Beach Volunteer Fire Department stated Herron was never affiliated with them as he stated, and a statement was released.
“There have been recent posts on social media from someone stating they are a member of our Fire Department and have posted hate messages against the Islamic Community,” the representative’s statement read. “Please know that this person, Dustin Herron, is not a member of the Crystal Beach Volunteer Fire Dept; nor has he ever been a member of our fire department. We are in the process of trying to track down Mr. Herron regarding the comments he made. We have also notified the Galveston County Sheriff Dept. regarding Mr Herron falsely stating he is a fire fighter within our organization. We have received many e-mails regarding his recent social media post and comments. Please know that our Volunteer’s (sic) give 100 percent effort 100 percent of the time.”
This arson attack on the Islamic Center in Houston comes in the wake of the execution of three Muslim-Americans in Chapel Hill, and it is being investigated as a hate crime as well.
Officials have confirmed that the intense fire damaged the back of the building which was used only for storage. No injuries were reported.
On Friday morning, a vandalized, smashed table was found on the property of the Islamic Center. The night before the fire, someone drove by in a vehicle and mocked all of those at the center as well.
There has been no further word from Dustin Herron on his post, but the investigation into the fire at the Islamic Center is still ongoing. Arson has been determined as the cause of the fire, but now they are working on figuring out who started it.
[Images via Facebook/Daily Kos]