VICTORIA, Texas – A federal prosecutor says a “rabid hatred” of Muslims led to a 26-year-old man to set fire to a Southeast Texas mosque.
Prosecutor Sharad Khandelwal made the claim Monday during the opening of the statements in the process of Marq Vincent Perez.
Perez is charged with a hate crime and also with the use of a fire to commit a federal crime in January 2017 fire that destroyed an Islamic centre in Victoria.
A federal law enforcement officer testified that an informant said Perez believed the middle of the believers were terrorists.
Authorities last year also charged Perez with possession of a non-destructive device in an indictment separate from the mosque fire.
If convicted of the hate crime charge, the most serious count, Perez could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.