English

Washington state: Mosque arsonist arrested, cops say “we haven’t seen any evidence that this is a hate crime”

“The suspect at the heart of the Islamic Center of the Eastside arson reportedly has a history of contentious interactions at the mosque — including a conviction for malicious mischief — but law enforcement officials are shying away from calling it a hate crime.”

That’s odd. If Isaac Wayne Wilson has “a history of contentious interactions at the mosque,” wouldn’t law enforcement officials have ample evidence of “words or actions” showing “that the perpetrator was targeting a community because of feelings of animosity towards them”?

Unless, of course, Isaac Wayne Wilson’s “contentious interactions” at the mosque have nothing to do with it being a mosque or with the Muslim identity of the people who go there. Is Isaac Wayne Wilson himself a Muslim? Is this yet another fake anti-Muslim hate crime? Certainly it was touted as one, as so far there is no evidence that it is one.

“UPDATE | Islamic Center arsonist apprehended, no early indications of hate crime or terrorism,” by Allison DeAngelis, Bellevue Reporter, January 14, 2017 (thanks to M.):

The suspect at the heart of the Islamic Center of the Eastside arson reportedly has a history of contentious interactions at the mosque — including a conviction for malicious mischef [sic] — but law enforcement officials are shying away from calling it a hate crime

Isaac Wayne Wilson, 37, has been booked into King County Jail under suspicion of arson. He is believed to have acted alone when setting fire to the mosque on Jan. 14 and causing extensive damage.Fire crews arriving at 14700 Main St. around 2:45 a.m. Saturday found 40-foot flames coming from the rear of the mosque, which has been a mainstay in Bellevue for decades. Wilson was located by police while laying in the mosque’s parking lot.

Firefighters quickly deployed multiple hose lines and were able to extinguish the flames, according to Bellevue Fire spokesperson Ryan Armstrong. No firefighters or civilians were injured.Thorough salvage operations were conducted to preserve holy books and electronic equipment in the building.

The fire caused substantial damage to the mosque and is being investigated as an arson. Officials say there is no indication it was an act of terrorism or linked to other anti-Muslim incidents on the Eastside. Investigators believe that he is the sole perpetrator based on Wilson’s statements, video footage and other evidence.

Members of law enforcement revealed at a press conference later that day that Wilson has an extensive criminal history and has had several run-ins at the mosque, including one within recent months for which he was arrested and sentenced to probation. However, both the police department and a representative from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said that they are not comfortable calling it a hate crime at this time.

“At this point, we haven’t seen any evidence that this is a hate crime,” Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mike Hogan said. “A hate crime is proven by words or actions that the perpetrator was targeting a community because of feelings of animosity towards them.”

Nor do investigators believe it was an act of terrorism. Because the arson occurred at a place of worship, Bellevue Police will be working with members of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during the investigation

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