In a tragic hate attack, a southern California mosque was set on fire last Friday. Officials have arrested a 23-year-old man they suspect of starting the blaze. Carl James Dial appeared in court on Wednesday to answer the charges. He pleaded not guilty to burglary, committing a hate crime and arson.
The fire happened at the Islamic Society of Coachella Valley. Fortunately, no injuries were reported as a result of the blaze. However, the front entrance of the mosque was seriously damaged.
Family of Dial Trying to Find a Pro Bono Lawyer
According to a local newspaper, Dial's family is currently trying to find a lawyer to represent him in the case. Dial's parents claim that finding a lawyer is complicated because they need someone who will handle the matter pro bono, i.e., free of charge.
According to the district attorney in charge of Dial's case, his next court date is scheduled for Dec. 28.
Was This Backlash Against San Bernardino?
Many people living in and around the San Bernardino area, are concerned that there could be an anti-Islamic backlash after the mass shooting that happened there on Dec. 2, resulting in 14 deaths. The act of arson allegedly committed by Dial in this case could be an example of this feared backlash.
The San Bernardino shooting was carried out by an Islamic couple, and the FBI has since called it an act of terrorism. San Bernardino is approximately 25 miles away from Coachella.
Dial Referenced Islamic State Several Times on Facebook
Dial referenced the Islamic State several times on his Facebook page. For example, on Oct. 31, he posted a note that he had been viewing Islamic state execution videos on the Internet. These could be signs of his attitude, which may have later resulted in violence.
If Dial is convicted of his alleged hate crimes, he could spend as many as 11 years and four months behind bars. At this time, he is being held at the Indio Jail, and his bond is $150,000.
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