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Worshipers at Muslim center in West Seattle fear fire may have been hate crime

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SEATTLE — As Muslim worshipers ran from their community center in West Seattle carrying copies of the Quran, firefighters rushed back to the scene Monday to put out a second fire threatening the building in one day.

Worshipers such as Mohamed Sharif have some major concerns after investigators determined someone started a fire in a garbage can that spread to their building near the intersection of 35th Avenue SW and SW Holly Street.

“It’s scary. I don’t know who is doing this kind of stuff. But it’s probably some crazy people,” Sharif said.

Investigators from the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Fire Department and the federal ATF are working together to try to solve the crime.

The fire Monday morning did minimal damage to the exterior wall of the building; however, a second fire destroyed much of the attic space.

Some worshipers fear their building might have been the target of a hate crime.

"We don’t know if this is targeted as a worship place or sick people trying to harm and destroy the property. We don’t know," Mohamed Aden said.

Investigators say someone also set two cars on fire a few blocks from the worship center over the weekend. Authorities have not determined if the three fires are related.

Anyone with information on the fires is asked to call 911.