US mosque arson suspect says was regular worshipper

The president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston says he does not know the suspect

Afp December 31, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC: A suspect charged over an arson attack on a Texas mosque told investigators he was a regular worshipper there, praying five times a day seven days a week, according to his charge sheet.

Houston resident 37-year-old Gary Nathaniel Moore was arrested on Wednesday and appeared in the Harris County district court on a felony charge of arson, the Houston Chronicle reported.

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According to the charge sheet, reproduced in the report, the suspect had been the last to leave the mosque at 2:00 pm after prayers on Friday, December 25.

Moore said he had seen no smoke and only heard about the fire, which destroyed the interior of the small shopping mall mosque, from a friend, but investigators identified him from surveillance video.

When police executed a search warrant at his home they found a container of charcoal lighter fluid matching another found at the scene and clothing matching the suspect's in the video.

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Friday's mosque fire came just weeks after a young Muslim couple, apparently inspired by foreign militant groups, carried out a mass shooting in California that sparked fears of a backlash against members of their faith.

The suspect told investigators he had been a regular at the mosque for five years, but the president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, Masrur Javed Khan, told the Chronicle he did not know him.

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Separately, the FBI issued a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in another attack on a Muslim place of worship, this one in Las Vegas.

Surveillance images of the suspect in the December 27 attack show a man in a dark hat and jacket hanging bacon on the door handles of the Masjid-e-Tawheed mosque.


MJ | 7 years ago | Reply It is a sad and bitter truth but I feel safer going to a Masjid in US than praying in one in Pakistan.
cautious | 7 years ago | Reply Kudos. Nice to see that some govt's actually capture, prosecute, and jail the bad guys.
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