TORONTO —; An online fundraising campaign launched this weekend has since raised more than $100,000 of the $120,000 goal to help rebuild a mosque destroyed by fire in Peterborough, Ont. on Saturday.
Police said the fire was set deliberately around 11 p.m. just prior to the celebration of a child’s birth a half hour before the incident.
While the police investigation is ongoing, members of the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association is calling for authorities to treat the fire as a potential hate crime.
READ MORE: Paris attacks prompt Canadian Muslim group to issue warnings of potential backlash
Police said it is unclear if the fire was at all connected to the deadly attacks in Paris.
“The Muslim community has a very good relationship with the Peterborough community,” said the president of the association, Kenzu Abdella. “We had an open house just last year, and the mayor was here.”
We condemn attacks on innocents & their place of worship. Citizens asked to come forward to us with any info on fire at Mosque.-Chief Rodd
— Peterborough Police (@PtboPolice) November 15, 2015
But he said the community has been supportive in the hours since the fire, and for that, he’s immensely grateful.
Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett said on 桑拿会所 Monday that several church groups in the community have stepped up to offer space for worship until the repairs to the mosque are complete.
Several church groups have stepped forward, contacted Kawartha Muslim Religious Association to provide space for worship. Forward together.
— Daryl Bennett (@MayorBennett) November 16, 2015
A statement issued by the mayor Saturday night called the mosque attack “a despicable act.”
“Masjid Al-Salaam, the name of the mosque, means Mosque of Peace,” he said. “The faith communities are cornerstones of our city, contributing to charitable organizations and helping those who are less fortunate.”
Please see my statement on the fire at Masjid Al-Salaam on Saturday night. pic.twitter长沙桑拿/ctvQDJwHND
— Daryl Bennett (@MayorBennett) November 15, 2015
With a file from