A Baptist evangelist known for writing books critical of Islam and debating Muslims has been charged with attempted arson after being accused of endangering his condominium as he burned tax records of his religious organization.
Anis Shorrosh, 75, of Daphne was arrested after fire broke out in a trash room at the building where he lives near the Alabama coast. About 50 residents had to be evacuated when smoke from a plastic trash container set off a fire alarm, but no one was hurt, Police Lt. Jud Beedy said.
A resident used a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze, Beedy said, and authorities found remnants of tax records of Shorrosh's evangelical organization in the burned container. A video surveillance camera captured images of the man near the trash room around the time the fire occurred.
Authorities are not sure why the tax records were burned. "It is still under investigation," Beedy said.
Members of the condo owners association suspected Shorrosh's involvement in the Tuesday night fire because one day earlier they had signed a warrant accusing him of criminal mischief by damaging the building's security system.
"He had gotten frustrated with the security system, and he took a hammer to it," Beedy said.