Officials said that the fire at a St. Paul mosque last week was the fifth vandalism incident against Muslim places of worship this year.
A suspect has been arrested on suspicions of arson following a fire at a St. Paul mosque last week. This is at least the fifth act of vandalism that the state has seen this year, leaving members of the Muslim communities 'living with fear', a state senator stated.
Jaylani Hussein said that at a press conference, the Minnesota chapter's executive director, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), had stated that the Oromo American Tawhid Islam Center was 'completely burnt' after it was set on fire on Tuesday.
St. Paul Fire Department reported that the building was not occupied at the time of the fire and there were no injuries.
St. Paul Police Department reported that Said Murekezi (42), the suspect, was arrested and booked Thursday on suspicion of arson.
According to the documents charging Mr. Murekezi who claimed to be a Muslim, he said that he was protesting against homelessness. Documents said that Mr. Murekezi had told police he was a Muslim and he wanted to protest homelessness.
This attack follows a series of vandalisms against Islamic places of worship in Minnesota.
Documents also show that the Oromo American Tawhid Islamic Center had a window broken three weeks earlier. Mr. Hussein reported that on May 12, a second mosque in St. Paul had its doors smashed. In either case, no one has been arrested.
Jackie Rahm Little, who set fire to two mosques in Minneapolis, was charged with arson on April 1. Court documents state that he was stopped in one instance. In another case, a representative of the mosque told investigators the fire had caused damage of tens and thousands of dollars.
Zaynab Mohammed, a state senator from Minnesota, stated on Sunday that this attack has left the Muslim community of Minneapolis feeling'shaken'.
She said, 'These people, especially those who visit these mosques regularly, are living in fear at the moment. These attacks are not new. These attacks have been going on for years. This year, they are more frequent and more destructive.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, hate crimes in the United States have increased by nearly 12 percent between 2020 and 2021. The data is incomplete and, according to experts, the figures may be underestimated.
The Bureau reported that of the 1,590 hate crimes involving religion, nearly 10 percent were anti Islamic.
In an interview conducted on Sunday, Mr. Hussein stated that he thought some vandalism was copycat acts. He also noted that many mosques struggled financially to prevent attacks. The Oromo American Tawhid Islam Center did not have security cameras.
Mr. Hussein stated that 'our community feels vulnerable'. 'We're under-resourced, and we're under attack.