Vacant mosque fire not believed to be hate crime

SEATTLE (AP) — Police and FBI officials say they do not believe a fire last week at a vacant mosque was a hate crime or act of violence against the Muslim community.

The Seattle Times reports that officials on Saturday said investigators found graffiti, trash and other evidence that people were squatting inside Bellevue’s Islamic Center of Eastside since it closed down for faith-based activities after an initial fire in January 2017.

That fire about 14 months ago was not considered a hate crime either.

Investigators said, however, that they’re searching for a group of people, possibly teenagers, who were seen running from the building minutes before it went up in flames.