Four months after fire Victoria Islamic Center breaks ground on new mosque

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Mosque broke ground on building on first day of Ramadan
Mosque broke ground on building on first day of Ramadan, Tracy Clemons reports.

VICTORIA, Texas (KTRK) -- Members of the Victoria Islamic Center broke ground on their new mosque in the same spot where the old one burned down just four months ago.

They tell us they got here because of the true American spirit: their fellow Americans from all over the country not just praying for them, but pitching in a few bucks at a time to make sure they bounced back stronger than before.

"We thought it was going to be very difficult to have our mosque again," said Imam Osama Hassan. "But the way people in Victoria and surrounding Victoria was amazing."

Hassan said the night of the fire, they prayed that God would bless them with something better. And on the first day of the most sacred month of the Islamic year, they broke ground on something better.

RELATED: Victoria mosque destroyed in morning blaze

"Ramadan is the most blessed month in the Islamic calendar and being able to break ground on the first day of the holiest month just adds to being an extra blessing," said Omar Rachid.

Omar Rachid has been a member of the Victoria Islamic Center since he moved here from Dallas more than 20 years ago. He organized the GoFundMe page for people to donate to their rebuilding efforts. More than $1 million has poured in from around the country and the world.

"It's extremely humbling and not only in that it restores our faith in humanity, it restores our faith in really what the true American spirit is," Rachid said. "The message that was sent was contrary to the message we received the night of the tragedy."

RELATED: Fire that destroyed Victoria mosque ruled arson

Osama Hassan showed us some of the pieces that survived the fire that they hope to incorporate into the new building.

There is no set date on when they'll be in that new building, but just the thought of it brings a smile to these faces.

"On the 28th of January, we all shed tears of sadness," Rachid said. "And I believe on the day we open the mosque, it's going to be tears of enjoyment, and extreme excitement and happiness."

The suspect federal investigators believe set the fire is awaiting trial for two other charges. He has not been charged with setting the mosque on fire.

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