Suspected arson at Eslöv mosque: police

The fire that broke out in a mosque in the southern Swedish town of Eslöv Monday morning is believed to have been caused by arson, according to local police.

Rescue services arrived at the scene at around 3:00 AM and were able to put out the blaze quickly. There were no injuries, but the police classifies the incident as arson and the Swedish Security Service Säpo is assisting in the investigation.

"We're looking into whether this could be a politically motivated crime," press spokesperson Fredrik Milder tells news agency TT.

The mosque is in the basement of an apartment building. According to TT, Marie Keismar of the Skåne police says that the residents might have been in danger had the blaze not been contained.

Gustaf Sandell of Rescue Services Syd tells Swedish Radio News: “There was a broken window, with flames both inside and outside. There’s no natural explanation for how such a fire could start.”

This comes after a fire broke out at a mosque in Eskilstuna on Christmas Day. There were 70 people there at the time and five had to be taken to hospital. It is unclear if arson was involved in Eskilstuna.

Aaccording to the anti-racist magazine Expo there have been 13 attacks on mosques around Sweden this year.

The number of islamophobic hate crimes have increased markedly in the past few years. Between 2009 and 2013, the number of recorded cases soared from 194 to 327, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå).

The attacks have also garnered a lot of attention in the media. This could, in turn, lead to more people reporting similar crimes, and to police becoming more aware of this type of hate crime, Anna Frenzel, an investigator at Brå, told news Agency TT. Crimes include fires, violent crime, vandalism and graffiti.

On Tuesday evening at 6 p.m., a group calling itself "Together for Eslöf" is organizing a march for a safe and inclusive Eslöf.