Senator Blumenthal meets with local officials following mosque arson in New Haven

New Haven

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is calling the arson at New Haven’s Diyanet mosque an act of terrorism and wants the federal government to increase the amount of money it gives to places of worship to beef up security measures. Right now, that’s about $10 million. He wants that to increase to $25 million for things like alarms and enhanced alert systems.

“This kind of security can help prevent the terrorist act that we’ve seen here,” the senator said.

One man told Senator Blumenthal members of the mosque are rattled by the fire.

“Please, please, please make our lives safer,” he said.

Two different groups are speaking out about that New Haven mosque that intentionally burned last weekend. A vigil was held outside the mosque Thursday night.

Related: Community holds vigil for worshippers of mosque set on fire

Temporary prayer rooms are now set up outside for worshippers during this holy month for Muslims. On Friday, some people were praying under a canopy in the rain.

Six people, including three children, were inside the mosque when the fire started on Sunday. Everyone is okay.

Local and state fire marshals are now investigating the fire as an arson. Members of the FBI and ATF were also on the scene Friday — all working together to try and find the person or people responsible.

Related: Lawmakers announce plan for more security after mosque fire

Reward money totalling $12,500 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.

Members of the community say there’s a growing climate of anti-Muslim sentiment in this country.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp says the city has started a campaign to pass out informational guides to places of worship with information that could keep their members safe. She says the mosque does a great job helping many people in New Haven with various charitable drives and she is very happy to see the community now starting to donate thousands of dollars online to help the mosque rebuild and recover.

“We’ve seen this community come together to support this group and to say that we are all one,” she said. “We’re a city that cares for one another.”

Related: New Haven mosque fire being investigated as possible arson

WEB EXTRA: News 8’s LaSalle Blanks spoke with local leaders after the press conference:

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