A suspect arrested in the firebombing of a New York mosque says he acted out or personal revenge and not because of hate for Muslims.
Ray Lazier Lengend, of Guyanese descent, was arrested by New York City police on suspicion that he attacked the prestigious Al-Khoei Foundation Islamic Center in Queens as well as a Hindu temple and homes.
The mosque sustained light damage, and no one was injured.
American Muslims were outraged at the attack, but the suspect said he firebombed the mosque out of anger after having been refused permission to use its bathroom facilities.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper immediately condemned the attack on the mosque and called on the FBI to investigate threats of violence targeting mosque. Hooper did not mention the other attacks on non-Muslim sites.
American media said the 40-year-old man also admitted personal revenge for other Molotov cocktail attacks.
The string of alleged crimes last week began with a stolen car that was reportedly at the scene of at least two of the attacks. A security camera at a gasoline station showed that Lengend was filling up a bottle with gasoline.
Lengend allegedly uses Starbucks bottles in the attacks, the same bottles he was accused of trying to steal from a convenience store two weeks ago. He left the store swearing he would “get even.”
He returned to throw a firebomb, Fox News reported, and then continued to take out his anger by attacking homes, the mosque and the Hindu center. One of the attacks at a home was aimed at someone with whom Lengend has a dispute but he hit the wrong house.
Another home that was targeted belonged to a relative.