Arson is suspected at an Arab-owned convenience store where Copley Road residents have protested since two black men were beaten during an alleged robbery.
Police believe the arson suspects also spray-painted the words ''No Arabs in Black Nieborhooh.''
The West Akron store has been the subject of periodic neighborhood protests and picketing for about four weeks.
Mustafa Daoud, 40, who runs Queen's Convenient Store, said Monday he is unsure if he will reopen after the fire.
''It's unsafe for us,'' he said. ''Enough is enough.''
Akron police met with residents and store owners Nov. 26 and believed a temporary peace accord had been reached with an agreement to meet again Dec. 10.
Ward 3 Councilman Marco Sommerville said Monday he wants federal authorities to join the ongoing investigation by Akron police detectives and Akron fire arson investigators.
The fire at Queen's Convenient store, 881 Copley Road, was discovered about 1 a.m. Sunday.
Akron police arrived to find a large hole on the south side of the store and heavy smoke coming from inside the building. Damage was listed at about $20,000. The store remained closed Monday.
Sommerville said he intends to lead a community dialogue among blacks and Arabs. He said he will reserve judgment on who is responsible until all the evidence is in.
''There's a lot of tension in the community, but I don't want to rush to judgment,'' he said. ''On the other hand, somebody wrote that graffiti and turned this into a hate crime. We need to get to the bottom of this.''
About a dozen residents gathered last month outside the store to protest an altercation that occurred Nov. 2 between store workers and two male customers.
Akron police are still investigating the incident in which the two sides offer radically different accounts of what unfolded.
The two customers, who have been among the protesters, told police they were trying to buy cigars when they were assaulted without provocation by a store worker swinging a pipe.
The store's manager said the weapon was pulled because the men were drunk and trying to rob the business.
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