A vandalism attack on the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno on Christmas Day was immediately branded by Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer as a “hate crime,” and the “Islamophobia” grievance industry began to gear up in response. Now that a suspect has been arrested, the narrative is quickly collapsing.
This video report by KSEE24 describes the damage done to the mosque:
But police announced today that the suspect arrested in the attack is 28-year-old Asif Mohammad Khan, who, according to news reports, is a Muslim who used to attend the mosque and did the attack in response to bullying by some in the mosque.
In response, Dyer has quickly had to walk back his knee-jerk “hate crime” talk.
According to the Associated Press:
In the search for a suspect, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer had said that the broken windows and bleach poured on an American flag inside the Islamic center appeared to be a hate crime. On Saturday, Dyer said that investigators interviewed Khan, and their theory has changed. “It was obviously not as we thought,” said Dyer, adding that police will let FBI agents decide whether hate-crime charges are warranted.
Khan confessed, telling officers he was upset with people at the Islamic center for talking down or bullying him, Dyer said.
Remarkably, a member of Khan’s family was allowed to speak at the police news conference to explain his supposed mental illness.
This case of premature “Islamophobia” is reminiscent of the July 2010 arson at a Marietta, Georgia, mosque that was quickly deemed by the grievance industry as a clear case of “Islamophobia” driven by “anti-Muslim” sentiment and brought demands for immediate DOJ and FBI intervention by CAIR and the other usual suspects.
Calls for widespread cultural sensitivity training, “interfaith” outreach, and candlelight vigils were all on the agenda of national Islamic organizations that held a press conference in the wake of the Marietta mosque fire:
Fire official are still not calling the blaze that started inside the mosque around 11:30 p.m. Monday night a hate crime, but mosque officials and the vice president of the Islamic Circle of North America are fearing that it is an act of “Islamophobia.”
Naeem Baig, the vice president of ICNA, was at Wednesday’s press conference and he spoke out against anti-Islamic sentiments and acts.
“Islamic Circle of North America feels very strongly that these incidents of Islamophobia are on the rise in our country,” Baig said. “It is very sad to see that just a day after we celebrated Independence Day on the Fourth of July, the very next day, on the fifth of July, somebody came and decided to destroy this property, a house of worship. This is not what America is.”
But Assistant Fire Chief Scott Tucker said his department does not want to classify the arson as a hate crime until it can talk to a suspect and confirm a motive.
“I look at this fire and I see it as very similar to other fires,” Tucker said. “I don’t think there’s anything significantly different … Until we figure out the motive, we’re going to work this fire just like it was a normal fire.”
Not much was said, however, after it turned out that the fire was set by a member of the mosque, nor were any apologies issued to the non-Muslim community that the Islamic organizations unjustly tarnished with a broad brush.
As much can be expected in this case.