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October 4th, 2012
09:42 PM ET

Suspected arsonist faces charges over mosque burning

By David Ariosto, CNN

(CNN) – Authorities transported a man suspected of igniting a blaze in a suburban Toledo mosque back to Ohio, after he is believed to have traveled to Indiana following the attack - the latest in a series of actions eliciting fear in Muslim communities.

Randolph T. Linn was arrested Tuesday in the northern Indiana city of Fort Wayne, less than 15 miles west of the Ohio border, after he allegedly set fire to the mosque's second-floor prayer room, police said Thursday.

Linn faces felony charges of aggravated arson, burglary and having a concealed weapon, and was being held on $400,000 bond in Ohio's Wood County jail, authorities said.

The blaze began Sunday and triggered a sprinkler system that prevented the inferno from spreading in the landmark Islamic center, which spans more than 60,000 square feet and is considered among the nation's oldest and largest mosques.

Police said no one was present in the building at the time of the fire, although security cameras captured footage of a man whom authorities believe is Linn just prior to the incident.

"Over the years, there has been other suspicious activity at the Islamic Center," police said in a statement, including a letter with the word "stopped" written crudely in Arabic adjacent to a grease stain in the form of a smiley face.

"In view of all the mosque attack incidents in the country, we had stepped up security for the month of Ramadan," said Mahjabeen Islam, president of the Islamic Center. "I could never have imagined this would have at the Islamic Center. The damage is so severe it involves all rooms."

It is not clear whether Linn - who could not be immediately reached for comment - was responsible for prior acts, police said.

"It's definitely not unique," said Nadhira Al-Khalili, legal director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "People are engaging in what they believe is justice. But it's vigilante justice. And it's hurting everyone."

In August, a mosque in Joplin, Missouri, was burned to the ground, just over a month after another attempted arson at the Islamic center, officials said.

Vandals sprayed an Oklahoma mosque with paintballs in that same month, while pigs legs were tossed against a California mosque, and a firebomb was hurled at a Muslim family's home in Panama City, Florida, according to CAIR.

Also in August, a gunman stormed a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, killing six people and wounding four others, though suspicion later surfaced that the man may have intended to kill Muslims, not Sikhs, who are occasionally mistaken for Muslims.

In January, the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center in Queens, New York, was hit by Molotov cocktails, as well as a Hindu temple and a corner store with Muslim workers.

"The number of anti-Muslim groups tripled in 2011, jumping from 10 groups in 2010 to 30 last year," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. "That rapid growth in Islamophobia, marked by the vilification of Muslims by opportunistic politicians and anti-Muslim activists, began in August 2010, when controversy over a planned Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan reached a fever pitch."

The battle over a planned mosque near ground zero evolved into a broader debate about freedom of religion in New York, erupting in a controversy that spilled out on to talk radio as well as national news outlets.


–CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Muslim • Violence

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. derp

    I wonder if Randolph T. Linn is an atheist or a christian?

    October 8, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven

    October 6, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent truths is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent truths, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society
      ...............

      October 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    October 6, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent truths is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent truths, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      October 6, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  4. Anonymous Poster

    It is quite possible that many of these anti-islamic attacks are being performed by islamists to help radicalize their own fence-sitters.

    October 5, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • ME II

      It's also quite possible that you are one of the arsonists attempting to misdirect people into thinking it's other Muslims.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • kyphi

      Oh, good grief, trying to blame it on American Muslims. God loves us all and wants us to love each other. That is His only rule. Do not trust anyone who tells you otherwise.

      October 9, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  5. Pete

    life should have been wife.

    October 5, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  6. Mohdudul Huq

    We are looking for terrorists all over the world; but we are neglecting home grown terrorists in our backyard.

    October 5, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • truth be told

      Ridding America of Muslims should qualify an individual for a Presidential medal.

      October 5, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • ME II

      Denying people the right to practice their chosen faith goes against the principles of the USA. It's called freedom of religion.

      October 8, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  7. truth be told

    Better a hole filled with ash and rubble than an idolatrous mosque.

    October 5, 2012 at 5:48 am |
    • Ally821

      "ARSONIST"...FINE. JUST MAKE SURE, THOUGH, THAT YOU ALL DON"T CALL THIS GUY A TERRORIST FOR WHAT HE DID. If I'm not mistaken, I believe that name is already trademarked for ONLY MUSLIMS who commit similar crimes.

      October 5, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • truth be trolled

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works comes from the extremely h0mophobic troll:

      "truth be told, who degnerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" deganerates to:
      "captain america" degnerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degnerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degnerates to:
      "fred" degnerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" or "...."
      and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to him as
      the disgruntled ex Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. "writer".

      October 5, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Portland tony

      Your definition of terrorist is wrong. Common law suggests that
      folks on the losing end of a revolution or uprising are the terrorists....Those on the winning side are patriotic freedom fighters. Always been that way at least since the American revolution.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • ok

      I think you are mistaken the mosque for churches that are filled with idols and statues of 'Mary, angels and jesus" . haha

      October 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • truth be told

      Child molesting, lying, murdering mohammed and its idolatrous phony text? No i got it right. Catholics may have issues to resolve but at least they worship God. allah is an idol leading rag heads and anyone near them to hell.

      October 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    October 5, 2012 at 5:47 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent truths is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent truths, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      October 5, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      October 5, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Douglas

      What is so strange about your trolling with this stupid post is based on your other handles it's obvious you are not really a Christian. So why do you continue trolling with this useless postings when you actually don't follow the teaching in the Bible?

      As someone else has pointed out you also go by

      "truth be told, who degnerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" deganerates to:
      "captain america" degnerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degnerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degnerates to:
      "fred" degnerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" or "...."
      and many other names,

      October 5, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • nope

      @doug...
      nope

      October 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • .

      Nope is a dope

      October 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  9. THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

    WHY IS HE BEING CHARGED? HE DID NOTHING WRONG

    October 5, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  10. Adeyinka

    Muslims and Christians are all ingorant of their religions. I strongly believe that if both Muhammed and Jesus Christ were still alive till today, they would have being best of friends as both came from the same family (Abraham's linage) and they both preached and taught us peace. Please stop this madness.

    October 5, 2012 at 3:04 am |
    • Topher

      Speaking of not knowing about other religions ...

      October 5, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  11. Adeyinka

    Muslims and Christians are all ingorant of their religions. I strongly believe that if both Muhammed and Jesus Christ were still alive till today, they would have being best of friends as both came from the same family (Abraham's linage) and they both preached and taught us peace.

    October 5, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • It's whatever you want it to be.

      I strongly believe they would have made sugar cookies and tang with Buddha and Fred Phelps.

      Make-believe is fun.

      October 5, 2012 at 3:05 am |
    • truth be told

      Mohammed had nothing to do with the line of Abraham, Mohammed was a fake. Christs love extends to all sinners.

      October 5, 2012 at 5:50 am |
  12. Colin

    Let's take up a collection and pay him $400,000 to burn every mosque, church, synagogue and temple in the country. The sooner our species shakes off the last remaining vestige of our roots and elevates itself to atheism, the better off we will be.

    October 5, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Stendec

      Umm...you should avoid actually inciting felonious behavior in others if you can. I hear it is slightly illegal.

      October 5, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • The Cheaper Way

      You don't need $400,000; the guy is a Southerner. Just tell him there are uppity neroes and Yankees inside, and he will torch any cross, church, mosque, or synagogue you want. They've been doing that since the Civil War down there.

      October 5, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • nope

      @colon
      nope

      October 5, 2012 at 5:50 am |
    • snopes says

      nope to nope

      October 5, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  13. Wraith

    I am curious to see if we have protests in Islamic countries, and officials in an, "ally," country demanding this man be out to death.

    I am glad he was caught, and if he was the one responsible, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    October 4, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  14. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I'm sure we had someone commenting just the other day that CNN would never report an arrest on the Joplin mosque burning – presumably because it would turn out to be an elecrical short or something.

    Even though this is not the Joplin mosque, I am glad to see effective police work for the recent Toledo mosque.

    I hope the prosecution has their evidence and their case in order and justice will be served swiftly.

    October 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Stendec

      Law enforcement people often enjoy going after arsonists because the sorts of things to do are easier in some way and they also get to work with arson investigators and others who are not involved in their internal politics. It's all good.

      October 5, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  15. OneTruth

    Burn him if guilty

    October 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • George Patton

      no sharia law please.

      October 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Shariya is otherwise known as Din, Theen to be perfect, foundation of Abraham teaching's, based on Truth absolute and father of every consti tuion around the globe, including USA, please do some investgation before spewing your hinduism, ignorance.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Pete

      We know your life left you for a Hindu, but it is time to move on. There are other fish in the sea.

      October 5, 2012 at 11:50 am |

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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.