On Sunday September 30th, Randolf "Randy" Linn, from Fort Wayne, Indiana drove across state lines to set the mosque on fire. A few days later, he was caught and arraigned in Federal Court for committing a hate crime and faces 30 year in prison.
Today, Friday October 5th, 2012, the entire Muslim community, as well Jews, Christians, Buddhists, atheists, and others came out to the mosque to show their support and listen to various speakers condemn hate crimes and discuss unity and communal growth.
There was an outpouring of support as over 700 attended the outdoor prayer service in the cold and rain under a large tent. Flip through the gallery attached to this article to see some of the photos.
One sign read, "You can burn the carpet (referring to the fire set in the middle of the prayer hall carpet), but you can't burn faith."
Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson said, "We're just not going to stand for that we haven't stood by it in the past. I have prosecuted on behalf of the Islamic center in the past for even threats and to have somebody come in and take these kind of very overt painful actions the entire community should be incensed and I believe that they are."
The United States Attorney for Northern Ohio, Steven M. Dettelbach, released a statement which read in part:
"The Department of Justice will aggressively prosecute persons who attack, deface or damage houses of worship because of racial or religious animus," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "We appreciate the cooperation of state, local and federal law enforcement in their efforts to ensure that no one in this country is hindered in their ability to worship freely in the manner of their choosing."
"As this department and this community have repeatedly said, we will have zero tolerance for such violent acts of intolerance," said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. "Religious freedom is at the core of our country, and we will continue to aggressively prosecute such hate crimes whenever and wherever the evidence warrants. Local, state and federal law enforcement are to be commended for speed with which they identified and arrested the suspect."
Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Cleveland office, said: "Today's charges should send a clear message to anyone who chooses to use fire and hate to destroy a place of worship. The FBI commends the collaboration between the local and federal agencies in their efforts to bring Randolph Linn swiftly to justice."
"This senseless act of arson against a house of worship is incomprehensible and will not be tolerated, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will actively pursue and bring those responsible to justice," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Robin Shoemaker, Columbus Field Division. "The individual(s) responsible for this act will be held accountable. ATF will continue to work in collaboration with our federal and local counterparts to ensure that justice is served."
While being booked and after being read his Miranda rights, Linn stated, "Fuck those Muslims," according to the affidavit.