x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Firebomb attack leaves New York's Muslim community 'emotionally shaken'

Police keep watch over a prominent Islamic cultural centre that was attacked as they investigated other possibly linked attacks that also could be hate crimes.

NEW YORK // Police kept watch over a prominent Islamic cultural centre that was firebombed as they investigated other possibly linked attacks that also could be hate crimes.

Although structural damage to the Imam Al Khoei Foundation building in Queens was minimal, the incident on Sunday has left the community emotionally shaken, said its assistant imam, Maan Al Sahlani.

The entrance to the foundation was struck by two Molotov cocktails on Sunday night. A private house that is used as a Hindu house of worship was also hit.

A videotape from a surveillance camera shows a car stopping at the house. Someone suddenly appears, lifts his right arm high and hurls a lit object that strikes the house and explodes into flames.

Besides the private house and the Islamic centre, the other targets in the arson attacks were a corner convenience store and another house.

Mr Al Sahlani met on Monday with a dozen other clerics from the city's Muslim community.

Near a blackened, charred spot on the concrete overhang of the Islamic foundation's main entrance, the front gates remained wide open to the street, and anyone could walk in to worship.

"This is America, and we must continue to love one another," Mr Al Sahlani.