(HOUSTON, TX, 7/17/18) - The Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Houston) today welcomed the conviction of a man who torched a Victoria, Texas, mosque last year.
Marq Vincent Perez was found guilty on all three felony counts: damage to religious property, possession of a destructive device and use of fire to commit federal felony. Perez's sentencing is expected in a hearing scheduled for October 2nd.
Perez was picked up almost a month later on an unrelated charge. However, he was soon linked to the mosque arson.
SEE: Jury Convicts Texas Mosque Arsonist who wanted to 'terrorize' Muslims
In response to the verdict, CAIR-Houston Executive Director Mustafaa Carroll stated:
"While we are saddened by this hate-motivated crime against a house of worship, we are relieved that the arm of justice is long and bends toward what is right. We thank all law enforcement agencies, first responders, the Victoria community, and all those who helped their Muslim neighbors."
CAIR-Houston has followed this case closely, working to build ties with the community and offering workshops to help combat the fear that follows traumatic hate crimes such as this one. On Friday, July 13, a CAIR-Houston representative went to witness the trial and to offer the Victoria Muslim community moral support.
CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.
The Washington-based organization's recently-released 2018 Civil Rights Report, "Targeted," showed a 17 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents against American Muslims from 2016 to 2017, and a 15 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in that same time period.
CAIR 2018 Civil Rights Report: Targeted
Community members are being urged to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by going to: https://www.cair.com/report
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.