SE Missouri Islamic Center Arsonist Charged with Federal Hate Crime

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O’FALLON, Mo. (AP) — A man accused of setting the fire that destroyed an Islamic center in southeast Missouri has been charged with a federal hate crime.

Nicholas J. Proffitt (Cape Girardeau PD)

The U.S. Attorney’s office in St. Louis on Tuesday announced that a federal grand jury indicted 42-year-old Nicholas J. Proffitt in the April 24 fire that destroyed the Cape Girardeau Islamic Center.

He is charged with damaging religious property because of the property’s religious character, using fire to commit a federal felony, and damaging a building used in interstate commerce through use of fire.

Missouri has also charged Proffitt, of Cape Girardeau, with a state hate crime.

This Friday, April 24, 2020 photo shows damage to the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau, Mo. after a fire. The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of anyone connected to a fire that badly damaged the center in southeast Missouri. Fire broke out early Friday at the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau. About 12 to 15 people were evacuated and escaped injury. (Jacob Wiegand/The Southeast Missourian via AP)

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