DENVER (CBS4) – The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office says there are no signs of a hate crime in connection with a fire set at an Islamic business, but the owner feels otherwise.
The fire occurred at the Zamzam Halal International Market and Deli located at Quebec Street and East Iliff Avenue.
A motive has yet to be established but the business caters to Denver’s Muslim community and someone set a fire there on Friday afternoon. A truck that’s used to receive and deliver goods was set on fire.
Store owner Mohammed Almosawi is well aware of the acts of vandalism and hatred that have taken place in the U.S. since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.
“We were singled out because we are Muslims and because of all of these messages going on in the news,” said Almosawi, an Iraq native.
While he’s convinced it was a deliberate attack on his Islamic business, investigators with the sheriff’s office have their doubts. They point to another fire in a nearby dumpster that occurred about two hours later.
“Neither of them seem to be connected to race, religion, ancestry, national origin,” Julie Brooks with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office said.
But it’s not the first time the Zamzam Market has been hit by an arsonist. Almosawi says his dumpster was also torched. Now he has lost his truck and all of the goods that were inside. He feels the sheriff’s office is wrong.
“Unfortunately (they) disappoint me. I hurt about that and I think they should take a look again at the footage and take it more seriously,” Almosawi said.
“We have to believe that somebody is intending to intimidate or harass somebody based on criteria set forth in that statute,” Brooks said. “At this point we really don’t have anything that leads us in that direction.
A man seen in surveillance video around the time of the fires is considered a suspect. Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.