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Shots Fired at California Mosque

Gunshots were fired today at a mosque in Coachella, Calif., about 120 miles east of Los Angeles, but no one was injured, authorities reported.

Four people were praying inside the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley mosque when shots were fired about 5 a.m., striking the building and a car parked outside, Riverside County Sheriff's Department Capt. Andrew Shouse told the Desert Sun newspaper.

“A reasonable person would believe when a mosque is targeted, a hate crime may be occurring,” the sheriff’s official said at the scene of the shooting.

Salah Salah, a member of the mosque’s board, expressed concern over the shooting and the initial lack of a suspect.

“Somebody drunk? Something crazy? Nothing ever happened here before,” Salah told the newspaper, adding: “We are concerned about our safety, our security.”

The 16-year-old mosque has about 90 members.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, has asked the FBI to investigate.

“Any time shots are fired at a house of worship, the FBI should offer its resources to local authorities to help determine whether or not there was a bias motive for the attack,” CAIR chapter executive director Hussam Ayloush said.

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