News East-West desk
TORONTO: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have yet to ascertain the cause of the fire that destroyed the Sikh temple – called Guru Ram Das Sikh community temple – in the eastern part of Vancouver in Washington state in the US on Friday.
The city fire marshal is assisting the two federal agencies in the investigations.
The involvement of the federal agencies points to the importance the US authorities are attaching to attacks on religious places after the Wisconsin Sikh Temple massacre of August 5 when a white supremacist went on a shooting spree in the worst hate crime since 9/11, killing seven people.
Though it doesn’t appear to be the case of a racist attack, the area’s small Sikh community have reported some cases of harassment in the past, according to reports in the local media
According to a report in The Columbian newspaper, neighbours had opposed the relocation of the temple to their area on traffic and other grounds.
Its current value is $231,000, according to property records at the county office.