Accessibility links

USA

Florida Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Mosque Arson

  • VOA News

Firefighters work at the scene of a blaze at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, Florida, Sept. 12, 2016. (St. Lucie Sheriff's Office via AP)

Firefighters work at the scene of a blaze at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, Florida, Sept. 12, 2016. (St. Lucie Sheriff's Office via AP)

A Florida man was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday for setting fire to a mosque that the Orlando nightclub shooter attended.

Joseph Schreiber pleaded no contest at a hearing in Fort Pierce, Florida. In addition to jail time, Schreiber was sentenced to pay $10,000 in restitution.

A no-contest plea is similar to a guilty plea in that the defendant gives up his right to a trial. Prosecutors say Schreiber, who is Jewish, confessed to authorities that he set the fire at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce last September 11, on the 15th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

FILE - This undated booking photo released by the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office shows Joseph Michael Schreiber, 32, who was arrested in Fort Pierce, Florida, Sept. 14, 2016.

FILE - This undated booking photo released by the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office shows Joseph Michael Schreiber, 32, who was arrested in Fort Pierce, Florida, Sept. 14, 2016.

In a written statement read to the court, Schreiber said the fire was not caused by hatred, but rather by his anxiety. He said he feared there could be more terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims.

Schreiber posted on Facebook last July that "All Islam is radical."

Leaders at the Fort Pierce mosque say the damage from the fire was so great that they will change locations. No one was injured in the blaze.

The Orlando nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen, occasionally attended the mosque. Mateen's father was a regular member.

Mateen was killed by police after opening fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last June, killing 49 people. He declared his alliance to the Islamic State group before the shooting.

XS
SM
MD
LG