The house of an ethnic Iraqi who is now a U.S. citizen was set on fire, and authorities found the words "You are dead" painted on one outside wall.
Abdul Almusawi and his family, including an 18-year-old son who arrived in Tulsa from Iraq just days before the war began, are out of the state on vacation, said Tulsa Fire Capt. Jim White.
White said Thursday that neighbors apparently alerted the Almusawis about the fire. "He evidently called in yesterday from Laredo, Tex., and reportedly is on his way in," White said.
The arson fire Wednesday is being investigated as a hate crime, he said.
Family members told police they had received anonymous derogatory telephone calls over the past month and the Almusawi children were harassed at school, White said.
Almusawi's wife is American-born. He came to Tulsa 15 years ago to study aeronautics and now runs a used-car dealership.
White estimated damage to the house at $60,000.