Molotov Cocktail Thrown at Mosque in Tracy

CAIR is calling for the incident to be investigated as a hate crime.

Sheriff's officials in San Joaquin County, California, are looking into whether a Molotov cocktail thrown at a mosque in Tracy should be investigated as a hate crime.

Authorities said the device went off at the Tracy Islamic Center sometime Friday night or early Saturday, causing about $1,000 worth of damage.

Someone threw the Molotov cocktail over a case and into a side door of the facility, where it smashed into fiery pieces. The spot is marked by a broken bottle and charring.

No one was injured, but the act stunned community members who attend the mosque.

Tracy Islamic Center president Mohammed Arain, who said it was the first time in 15 years he had to call the sheriff's department. A congregant, Ghaleb Abdulla, doesn't remember any issues either.

"I was actually astonished because I have been living in Tracy for 15 years and never had any incident," said Abdulla. "It's very clear that it's a hate crime."

In a statement, Basim Elkarra, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Sacramento Valley, urged authorities to investigate it as such.

"The recent spike in hate incidents targeting mosques nationwide is unprecedented and should be of concern to all Americans," Elkarra said.

Lt. Mike Van Grouw told the Sacramento Bee deputies were unable to locate surveillance video and have not come up with a description of a suspect. He said without any suspects, the motive is unknown.

This weekend's incident is one of several targeting Islamic centers since a radicalized couple, one of whom pledged allegiance to an ISIS leader, killed more than a dozen people at a holiday party in early December.

A suspicious white powder was mailed to a Santa Clara chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and mosques have been attacked in Houston, Southern California, Alameda, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Connecticut, among others.

"Obviously, there's been political rhetoric that is inflammatory, and it's unacceptable," said Michael Yoshi, pastor at Buena Vista United Methodist Church in Alameda.

According to CAIR, more mosques have been targeted in 2015 than ever before.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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