(SAN ANTONIO, TX, 10/18/18) – The San Antonio chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-SA), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the sentencing of a man who burned down a Texas mosque.
Marq Vincent Perez, 26, was found guilty of committing a hate crime by burning the Islamic Center of Victoria after burglarizing and stealing computers and cell phones from the property. He was sentenced to 24.5 years in prison.
Senior U.S. District Judge John Rainey overruled all of Perez’s attorney’s 55 objections to the sentencing document, citing the parole officer’s reasoning for the addendums as sufficient.
“Hate crimes against Muslims have increased at an alarming rate in today’s political climate. Hopefully this kind of harsh sentencing will send a clear message to others before they commit any crimes against innocent people or houses of worship,” said CAIR-SA President Sarwat Husain.
CAIR-Houston Communications Coordinator Sobia Siddiqui attended the sentencing.
“It was intense,” said Siddiqui, “during the victim statements the gravity of this crime truly hit home.”
Mosque leaders stated that this crime changed their way of life. The attendance in the mosque has decreased due to the atmosphere of fear. One of the mosque leaders described the shift in his own comfort by explaining to the court that he no longer jogs with headphones on as he feels the need to remain alert of his surroundings.
“Now that the new mosque is up and running we’ll be back again and again to educate and empower our community. We will not live in fear. We are Americans and this is our home,” said Siddiqui.
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 misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.