Press Releases

CAIR Welcomes Arrest of Missouri Mosque Arson Suspect, Calls for Hate Crime Charges

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/28/20) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the arrest of a suspect in an arson attack on a Missouri mosque and urged state and federal law enforcement authorities to file hate crime charges against the suspect, who had reportedly vandalized mosques twice in the past.

Nicholas J Proffitt, 42, of Cape Girardeau., Mo., was arrested and charged with burglary, arson and property damage for a fire at the Islamic Center in Cape Girardeau on the first night of the Islamic fast of Ramadan.

In a statement, police said, “the defendant was knowingly motivated to do so by reason of a motive related to the religion of the people who worship at the Islamic Center.” Proffitt is being held without bond.

In 2009, Proffitt was charged with first-degree property damage for throwing rocks at the same mosque and second-degree property damage for damaging a vehicle in the facility’s parking lot. In 2005, Proffitt (known by a different name, Nicholas Stearns) was reportedly arrested for trashing a mosque in Dearborn, Mich.

SEE: Suspect Arrested in Islamic Center Fire; Convicted of Similar Charges From 2009

Man Charged in Connection to Fire at Missouri Islamic Center

Cape Girardeau Police Arrest Man in Connection with Islamic Center Fire

𝐀𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐌𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐈𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐂𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐞

UPDATE: 4/27/20 at 10:15 p.m. 𝐀𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐌𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐈𝐬𝐥𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐂𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐞On Monday, April 27, 2020 at approximately 6:40…

Posted by Cape Girardeau Police Department on Monday, April 27, 2020

Nicholas Proffitt, Suspect in Islamic Center Arson, Has a History of Attacking Mosques

CAIR’s Missouri chapter had called on law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for the “suspicious” blaze.

SEE: CAIR-Missouri Calls for Probe of Possible Bias Motive for ‘Suspicious’ Fire at Cape Girardeau Mosque

“Based on the police statement indicating a bias motive for this crime, we urge local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to consider bringing appropriate hate crime charges in the case,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We thank all those law enforcement professionals who helped apprehend the alleged arsonist.”

Hooper urged support for the mosque’s effort to rebuild. Donations can be made at:

“CAIR-Missouri strongly condemns the act of an alleged repeat offender and appeals to Governor Mike Parson to take a personal interest in this case. Missouri’s Muslim community stands for peace and justice. We urge authorities to bring swift and proper justice,” said Yasir Ali, CAIR-Missouri board chair.

Ali and CAIR-Missouri Chair of Finance Aathif Shamail visited the damaged mosque over the weekend and met with the FBI and local responders.

“The damage is beyond repair. We are overwhelmed by the Muslim and the Cape’s community support in a time of need and offer out our thanks to each one of them,” said Shamail.

The Washington-based civil rights organization has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

CAIR recently launched an online information portal offering vital information on the growing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on American Muslims and the entire society.


Every day (M-F), CAIR hosts a live 30-minute “Daily Dose: COVID Conversations with CAIR” at 3 p.m. (ET) on Facebook featuring spiritual leaders, health care professionals, counselors, experts, community advocates, and CAIR leaders from around the country.


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.


CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR-Missouri Board Chair Yasir Ali,

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