Fire
A suspect has been arrested in the case of an Oregon mosque firebombing that occurred last year. Photo Credit: Sergeant Robert Hearndon/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

A Corvallis, Ore., man has been taken into custody on suspicion of setting off a firebomb in a mosque as a retaliation against a foiled Christmas tree bombing plot. Cody Crawford, 24, is suspected of torching a mosque in Corvallis in late November 2010.

Mentally ill alcoholic ranted about jihad

Police in Oregon have arrested a suspect in the firebombing of a mosque in Corvallis, Ore., that occurred Nov. 28, 2010, according to the Los Angeles Times. A Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, setting the offices in the building afire. No one was injured, and an eight-month investigation began.

Cody Crawford was recently arrested on suspicion of the crime. A month after the mosque was burned, Crawford had been arrested for brandishing a knife in public. During that arrest, according to the Washington Post, he told one of the officers that “you look like Obama” and that “you’re a Muslim just like him.” He also said that Christians were also capable of jihad. Crawford, according to the Oregonian, has a history of alcohol abuse, mental illness and a lengthy criminal history.

Possible 30-year sentence

Crawford faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the mosque firebombing. According to the Boston Globe, he has been charged with damaging religious property for racial reasons and using fire in the commission of a felony. The first charge is classified as a hate crime. He has not entered a plea, and according to the Washington Post, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting Crawford maintains that he is a flight risk. The mosque was firebombed a few days after the arrest of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali-American who was accused of trying to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland. Investigators began looking at people in neighborhood.

Crawford was arrested on Dec. 14 for causing a disturbance at a gas station in McMinnville, Ore., less than 50 miles from Corvallis. He was arrested again on Dec. 16 for waving around a knife at his home in Corvallis, after which he was incarcerated at a mental health facility for six months.

DNA evidence points to Crawford

Police found a blue Maglite flashlight at the scene where the mosque was firebombed, and they asked Crawford if he knew whose it was. According to CBS, he replied that it looked like one he had. Local police and the FBI took DNA samples, along with seizing various items from Crawford’s residence. Lab results indicated that Crawford was a “potential major contributor” to DNA on the flashlight. Crawford has said in the past that he is a “Christian warrior” and “only Christians” would be able to understand what he was talking about or trying to accomplish. Crawford is being held for monitoring and mental evaluation. According to the Oregonian, a full mental health evaluation has been ordered and the trial date has been set for Oct. 26.

Sources

Los Angeles Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/08/mosque-firebomb-suspect-corvallis-arrested.html

CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20097679-504083.html

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/court-documents-show-man-arrested-in-ore-mosque-firebombing-ranted-against-muslims/2011/08/26/gIQAUPtWfJ_story.html

CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/26/ap/business/main20097646.shtml

Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2011/08/26/man_arrested_in_ore_mosque_bombing/

The Oregonian on OregonLive.com: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2011/08/suspect_in_corvallis_mosque_arson_has_history_of_mental_illness_and_alcohol_problems_lawyers_say.html

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