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Police investigating tips in mosque arson

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  • Person of interest wanted in Islamic Center arson

    Person of interest wanted in Islamic Center arson

    Monday, October 1 2012 10:06 PM EDT2012-10-02 02:06:29 GMT
    The Perrysburg Township Police Department along with the Ohio State Fire Marshal have determined arson as the cause of weekend fire at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. The investigation is on-going
    The Perrysburg Township Police Department along with the Ohio State Fire Marshal have determined arson as the cause of weekend fire at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo.

There are new details in the Islamic Center arson investigation.

Perrysburg Township police are getting tips from the public after releasing surveillance pictures of a man they call a person of interest.

Detectives are following leads, however there are no arrests yet in this arson case.

Leaders at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo say they won't be deterred. They say you can burn a mosque but you can't burn their spirit.

They are in contact with the center's thousands of members scheduling prayer services and other events at alternate locations.

"We are a strong and vibrant community and we hope to continue to thrive," says Dr. Mahjabeen Islam of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo.

Tuesday afternoon cleaning crews tackled the significant fire, smoke and water damage inside the second floor prayer room of the mosque.

"It's very painful, it was heartwrending to go through, to walk through," says Dr. Islam.

Perrysburg Township police are hoping someone will recognize this man in these security photos or this vehicle in the Islamic Center's parking lot.

"I personally don't recognize him but there are certain members that do," says Dr. Islam.

They don't remember his name, but over the summer a man who looks like the man in the picture wanted to go inside the Islamic Center.

"The person that was there who could've let him in felt uneasy so he wasn't let in. He was told the Islamic Center was closed, yes he looked suspicious," says Dr. Islam.

The state fire marshal's office as well as the ATF are involved in this investigation of the fire that broke out on Sunday evening .

Authorities won't comment on whether this arson could be related to attacks and protest at American embassies overseas.

"I will say this is certainly not an act of love," says Dr. Islam. "So because the investigation is pending I don't want to speculate, but your mind certainly goes there."

Police encourage anyone with information to call the state fire marshal's office at 1-800-589-2728 or the Perrysburg Township Police Department at 419-874-3551.

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