New York City police are investigating whether four separate Molotov cocktail attacks in Queens last night—one of which targeted a mosque with worshippers inside—might have been hate crimes.
The New York Daily News reports:
The homemade explosives were hurled at a bodega, the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center in Jamaica and two homes between 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m., cops said.
All of the targets were in Jamaica, within two miles of each other, police said.
“They definitely appear to be quite similar,” a police source said, “We’re looking into them as bias crimes.”
Members of the mosque described the scene to the Daily News:
Up to 80 people were at the Islamic center at 89-89 Van Wyck Expressway about 9 p.m. when someone threw two or three Molotov cocktails at the building’s brick facade, witnesses said.
“We had a few members downstairs and they heard it. We came out and put out the fire and called 911,” said Maan Lasahlan, the center’s minister of religion.
Ali Rizdi, who attends the mosque, said he ran outside and began stomping out the fire. He said one of the gas bombs was fashioned from a glass Starbucks Frappuccino bottle.