As the most reliable and balanced news aggregation service on the internet, DML News offers the following information published by JUSTICE.GOV:
The Justice Department today announced that Marq Perez, 26, was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for burning down the Victoria Islamic Center on Jan. 28, 2017. Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick for the Southern District of Texas, Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Special Agent in Charge Perrye K. Turner of the FBI made the announcement.
A jury found Perez guilty on July 16, for a hate crime in the burning of the Victoria Islamic Center (the mosque) on Jan. 28, 2017, and for the use of fire to commit a federal felony. In addition, the jury found that Perez possessed an unregistered destructive device for a separate but related incident that occurred on Jan. 15, 2017.
The article goes on to state the following:
“Everyone in this country has the right to worship freely without fear of violence,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “This defendant terrorized the Muslim community in Victoria, and the Department partnered with federal, state, and local agencies to ensure that the person responsible for this heinous hate crime would be found and prosecuted.”
“The Attorney General has said that the Freedom of religion is indeed our ‘first freedom’—being the first listed right of our First Amendment,” said Patrick. “The Department of Justice prosecutes violent and dangerous crime, but also, and particularly when that crime interferes with someone’s ability to practice their religious faith. Not only was this a dangerous and potentially deadly act, but also one spurred from hate. I am glad justice was served in this case.”
“ATF is the primary federal law enforcement agency tasked with investigating House of Worship Fires and views an arson against a house of worship as not just an attack on a building, but as an attack against an entire community,” said Milanowski. “ATF is pleased the defendant has been held accountable for this crime and will continue to respond to these violent crimes using all available resources.”
“Mr. Perez sought to provoke terror within the tranquil space of the Victoria Islamic Center,” said FBI Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Edward Michel. “By deliberately burning down this mosque, Mr. Perez attacked a specific religious congregation in the hope of spreading fear, conflict and depriving Victoria’s Islamic community of their peaceful and safe place to worship. Today’s sentencing illustrates that hate crimes will not be tolerated. No one in this country should feel afraid to openly practice their religion or express their beliefs. The FBI will continue to aggressively investigate civil rights violations wherever and whenever they occur.”
Texas Man Sentenced to Almost 25 Years for Hate Crime in Burning Down Mosque in Victoria, Texas https://t.co/DKQzHEC7fN
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) October 17, 2018
Marq Vincent Perez, 26, was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison for burning down the Victoria Islamic Center in January 2017. https://t.co/1QCBtIo4oC
— MidtownHouston Patch (@MidHoustonPatch) October 17, 2018
A Victoria man who used unprintable slurs to refer to Muslims and was convicted of burning down the Victoria Islamic Center early last year has been sentenced. https://t.co/EjSyRdb8KD
— Midland Reporter-Telegram (@mwtnews) October 18, 2018
A man convicted of burning down a Texas mosque because he feared Muslims will spend more than 24 years in a federal prison. https://t.co/7T59GQfE5L
— Aishah Schwartz (@AishahSchwartz) October 18, 2018
To weigh in on this information provided by JUSTICE.GOV, engage in our LIVE CHAT below. Scroll down.