One day after congregants of the Islamic Center in Tracy discovered their mosque had been the target of an apparent fire bomb attack — prayers continue as normal.
Along the path that leads to prayer, members of the Tracy Islamic center walk past this small, not so subtle, reminder that hate towards their religion exists.
“Unfortunately ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds violence,” Tracy Islamic Center Board of Directors Saifi Raniwala said.
Congregants at the mosque are trying to make sense of it.
Tracy Islamic Center member Sarah Abdulla says often when people don’t interact with Muslims in person, media generated stereotypes of Islam become their base knowledge of her faith.
“I’d say our doors are open for you. The door that you bombed, that door’s open for you. You can come meet us,” Abdulla said.
While this community tries to restore a sense of normalcy, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling for a hate crime investigation.
It’s something they’ve done dozens of times in the past six months alone.
“We’ve seen over 70 incidents against mosques, firebombings. We’re seeing many of these incidents take place around the nation. Many of them are hate crimes,” CAIR-Sacramento Valley Executive Director Bassam Elkarra said.
The Tracy Islamic Community has been at its location for more than 15 years without any issues before Saturday. Abdulla says, in the face of physical threat, it’s hard to stay quiet.
“When instances like this happen we need to take a stand against it, and say something and do something,” Abdulla said.
The San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office could not be reached for comment Sunday on their investigation.
Board members of the Islamic Center say the building is equipped with security cameras, however they were newly installed and were not recording at the time of the firebombing.