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CAIR Welcomes Arrest of Suspect Accused of Burning Three African-American Churches in Louisiana

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 4/11/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the arrest of a man who allegedly carried out a series of arson attacks on three African-American churches over the last several weeks in St. Landry Parish, La.

Holden Matthews, 21, was arrested on Wednesday for starting fires at the historically-black St. Mary, Greater Union and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Churches in the southern Louisiana parish of St. Landry. He is charged with three counts of arson on a religious building, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Investigators are still examining the alleged motive for the crime, but they say Matthews had “a relationship with a type of music called black metal” that has been associated with church burnings in other parts of the world.

SEE: White man, son of sheriff’s deputy, charged with burning down Louisiana black churches

“We welcome the arrest of the person allegedly responsible for three attacks targeting a faith community,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We urge law enforcement authorities and prosecutors to investigate these attacks as possible hate crimes.”

He noted that CAIR has witnessed an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

SEE: CAIR-MI Records Dramatic Increase in Civil Rights Complaints in First Quarter of 2019

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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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