For Immediate Release
CAIR Welcomes Arrest in Arson Attack on Texas Mosque
25-year-old suspect described as anti-Muslim 'right-wing extremist'
HOUSTON, TEXAS - The Texas office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Texas) today welcomed an arrest of a man suspected of setting fire to the Islamic Center of Victoria in Victoria, Texas, in January.
CAIR-Texas said the suspect, Marq Vincent Perez, 25, has "an apparent hatred of Muslims" and is described as a "right-wing extremist." A prosecutor noted that Perez, who claimed that members of the mosque are "terrorists," may have targeted multiple mosques based on his social media comment: "Can you pinpoint any mosques that a team can get clear to?"
"We welcome this arrest and thank investigators for their swift and professional actions in apprehending the alleged arsonist," said CAIR-Houston Executive Director Mustafaa Carroll. "The actions of law enforcement authorities send a strong message of deterrence to others who may consider turning their bigoted views into violent actions."
CAIR-Texas is also monitoring the investigation of a fire at a mosque under construction in Travis County. Officials now say they may never know the exact source of that fire, even though arson is one of several possible causes.
SEE: CAIR-Austin to Monitor Probe of Fire at Mosque Under Construction, Work with Community Leaders
Travis Co. Mosque Fire Case May Never Be Solved
A soon-to-be-published CAIR report on Islamophobia in America is expected to show that 2016 was the worst year on record for incidents in which mosques were targets of bias.
CAIR-Kentucky: What It Feels Like When a Mosque Is Threatened (New York Times)
CAIR is asking American Muslims and Islamic institutions to take extra security precautions and is offering Muslim community leaders free copies of its booklet, "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety." The booklet may be requested through CAIR's website: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html
CAIR's national headquarters in Washington, D.C., has noted an unprecedented spike in hate incidents targeting Muslims and other minority groups since the November 8 election.
The Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization urges community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html
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CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.