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New Zealand attack note left at fire at California mosque

AP  |  Escondido 

A note referencing the recent terrorist attacks in was found at the scene of a possible arson at a mosque, police said Sunday.

Nobody was hurt, and members of the were able to extinguish the small blaze before firefighters, officials said.

The incident was being investigated as arson and a possible hate crime, said police in the city about 48 kilometers north of downtown

A note was found in the parking lot referencing the shootings this month that killed 50 people at mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, police Lt. said. He did not elaborate about the contents of the note.

Investigators did not release information about a suspect.

The caused minor damage to the building's exterior.

Seven people were inside the at the time of the fire, police told the TV station. They were able to put out the with a fire extinguisher before firefighters arrived on the scene, reported.

"There are people who sleep there overnight," member said.

"They heard the sounds, they smelled some funny smells, and there was a letter saying something connecting to at the same time. So, this made everybody especially on edge."

The Escondido was created four years ago and serves several hundred people in the city of about 143,000 residents, Miller said.

He told that worshippers are undeterred.

"We won't stop praying," Miller said. "We won't stop gathering."

Dustin Craun, the of the Council of American-Islamic Relations in San Diego, said his civil rights group stands with the

"It is disturbing enough that some sick individual would attempt to burn a house of worship to the ground, but referencing the slayings in is beyond the pale," he said in a statement.

"While the majority of humanity has responded to the tragedy to draw closer to one another and refute hatred, a violent and hate-filled minority seeks further divisions. We are grateful that someone was inside the mosque and was able to act quickly to put the fire out. We ask anyone with information to come forward and contact the We stand in solidarity with our community members who attend the

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 25 2019. 07:25 IST