NEW HAVEN - According to the parent organization of the New Haven mosque, Sunday fire caused over $500,000 of damage to the house of worship, which has over 300 members.
And Tuesday afternoon, the President of the Diyante Mosque spoke publicly for the first time since the fire.
Sunday afternoon, just before 4 p.m., the woman responsible for taking up close pictures of the mosque fire was the first to make a call to 911 reporting the mosque fire.
"I actually kept my eyes on that door and basically my sister she goes I know you’re going to jump out of the car but don’t do it," said Lina Biroscak. "I was ready to run out in case there was someone there but I didn’t see anybody."
Despite the fact that investigators said the fire was deliberately set, the members of this Turkish American mosque are feeling the love.
"I just got a phone call from France, Germany, Turkey all of the countries, around the United States," said a proud Haydar Elevli, who is the
President of the New Haven Diyanet Mosque.
He’s meeting with the New Haven Building Department to see if the city will approve temporary use of trailers on site to hold their services and Ramadan meals in.
"They (members) want to be here on the property," said Elevli. "There our second home."
He said it definitely feels different when hate is directed toward you.
"We are going to get together all of the community and religious organizations we’re going to see what we could do, how we’re going to protect ourselves," he said.
Construction has been in progress for some nine years and they were only months away from completion when the fire struck. Elevli said they had planned to start a school, opened on weekends, for the mosque's children. That will now be delayed.
There was a beautiful sight on the Middletown Ave. property Tuesday. A young woman, of the Muslim faith, who lives nearby, handed a bouquet of flowers and $20 to Mr. Elevli, who teared up.
Supporters of the mosque have posted three online fundraising efforts.