Woman suspected of setting Iowa mosque on fire

Woman suspected of setting Iowa mosque on fire

Aisha Ismail

Police in Iowa arrested a 22-year-old woman suspected of starting a small fire at an Iowa mosque Thursday morning.

Des Moines firefighters and police were called to the Islamic Center of Des Moines about 10 a.m. There had been a small fire on the carpet, according to a Des Moines police report.

The fire was extinguished by the mosque's staff by the time firefighters arrived.

Security cameras in the mosque showed a woman, later identified as Aisha Ismail, pouring lighter fluid on the carpet and then starting the fire, said Des Moines police spokesman Sgt. Paul Parizek. Ismail was not on scene when police and firefighters arrived, according to the report.

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Police arrested Ismail at a west Des Moines apartment that evening. She was booked into jail on acharge of first-degree arson.

There are no indications that this fire was a hate crime, Parizek said. Ismail attended the mosque, he said, adding that her motive for the fire was unclear.

"It doesn't appear that she was trying to burn the place down," Parizek said. "It seems like she was trying to make a statement."

Damage from the fire was minimal, and no one was hurt, Parizek said.

Ismail's jail bond was set at $25,000. She remained in custody Friday morning.



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