Islamic Mortuary Fire

Muslim Matters

Islamic Mortuary Fire

By Aslam Abdullah, TMO Editor-in-Chief

Three weeks after the fire that destroyed the mosque built by Islamic Mortuary foundation in Las Vegas, the questions, who did it and with what motives still remain unanswered. Despite the involvement of many law enforcement agencies, the mystery has remained unsolved and this has led to many speculations within the Muslim community of Las Vegas. The state’s democratic congressional delegation condemned the incident, the state’s interfaith community stood by the Muslim community, people in general sympathized with Muslims, and the law enforcement agencies showed its determination to track down the criminals yet the conclusive report about the incident is still pending.

One of the main issues the community members have raised openly is who brought fire to the structure that did not have any gas or electricity? The community hopes that the inquiry would lead to conclusive evidence against those who committed this crime. The mosque was being built on a two and a half acre land with the generous donation of a Pakistani American physician totaling over $2 million. The family of Dr. Bashir and Kausar Chowdhry is fully committed to the project despite the shocking setback. Over one and a half million dollar were put on fire by the so far unknown culprit without dampening the spirit behind the project. Las Vegas has about 18,000 Muslims comprising more than 70 ethnic groups from all over the world. They use the existing commercial burial facilities to bury their dead. The idea of a Muslim mortuary was long discussed, but it was the Chowdhry family that committed its resources for the project. The family worked hard to survey existing mortuaries and developed the plan for a model state of the art facility to ensure the best possible facilities to the families of the deceased. The family had hope that the facility would be ready by the Ramadan of 2012. But the mysterious alleged unknown arsonist had a sinister plan and on a quiet night the wooden structure of the mosque was torched. By the time firefighters reached the facility everything was burned to the ground. The family and the community could not believe that such a hienous crime can be committed against a community that has been promoting peace and harmony in the city. It was hard to believe that a place of religious importance to honor the dead would be brought down.

The community is seeking answer that are not coming soon. Obviously, the answers would not bring back the burned down structure, but it would restore confidence of the community in the efficiency and swiftness of the law enforcement agencies in dealing with situation like these.

The Las Vegas community is hopeful that the investigative authorities would expedite the matter and bring the matter to a closure soon.


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