Islamic Center of Lake Travis set to rebuild after devastating fire

It has been almost five months since a mosque, under construction near Lake Travis burned down. While investigators still don't know how that fire started, those with the Islamic Center of Lake Travis said it's time to rebuild.

The center was just months away from opening when it caught fire in January 7th, 2017.

Shakeel Rashed is the Secretary of the Board for the center and said the Travis County Fire Marshall's Office has been investigating for months “They go through a lot of information on cameras, including surrounding businesses and everything else, and they went through the regular process of testing the site but they could not come to a conclusion based on any evidence.” 

Rasheed said because everything was burned – he was told there was no evidence left.

“There is a chance that we may never know. We have come to terms with it. Our goal is mainly for us to rebuild the site, and get back to work and get back to the community,” he said.

Rashed said the idea of building an Islamic Center came years ago when they realized they were outgrowing their meeting spot at a local elementary school. He said they picked their location off of Moss Road near Lake Travis and construction began. But it didn't come without some trials, the mosque was vandalized in November, and then destroyed in the fire January.

But now Rashed said it's time to start over and June is the perfect month. “There's a lot of support now during this month of Ramadan. We meet regularly for prayers, meditation on a regular basis so the community is growing in this area.”

He said they will rebuild the same structure, in the same location.

“This is the best spot. We chose this spot for a reason before and we see this as the best place for us to go ahead and reconstruct.” But this time one thing will be different, “What we hope for is learn from our previous experience and put up a good security this time with cameras, be able to catch it, and make sure there is no repeat of what happened,” Rashed said.

They are still hoping to eventually find out how the fire started, if you do have any information, you're asked to call the Travis County Fire Marshal's Office at 512-854-4621.

The Islamic Center of Lake Travis has a GoFundMe, if you would like to help you can click here.