This article is over 4 years old

News

Trial Begins For Man Accused Of Setting Fire To Texas Mosque

The man is charged with a hate crime and also with use of a fire to commit a federal felony in the January 2017 fire that destroyed an Islamic center in Victoria

Victoria Islamic Center

A federal prosecutor says a “rabid hatred” of Muslims led a 26-year-old man to set fire to a Southeast Texas mosque.

Prosecutor Sharad Khandelwal made the claim Monday during opening statements in the trial of Marq Vincent Perez.

Perez is charged with a hate crime and also with use of a fire to commit a federal felony in the January 2017 fire that destroyed an Islamic center in Victoria.

A federal law enforcement officer testified earlier that an informant said Perez believed the center’s worshippers were terrorists.

Authorities last year also charged Perez with possession of an unregistered destructive device in an indictment unrelated to the mosque fire.

If convicted of the hate crime charge, the most serious count, Perez could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.

“It is in our religion, it is in our teaching that we forgive those who trespass against us, and we let the justice system take its course, and we certainly believe god will render justice after all,” said Omar Rachid a spokesman for the Victoria Islamic Center.

Today in Houston Newsletter Signup
We're in the process of transitioning services for our Today in Houston newsletter. If you'd like to sign up now, fill out the form below and we will add you as soon as we finish the transition. **Please note** If you are already signed up for the newsletter, you do not need to sign up again. Your subscription will be migrated over.