Man accused of hate crime in southern California mosque fire

Man accused of hate crime in southern California mosque fire
Mosque damaged in arson attack in Coachella, CA. (Image via TH)

A 23-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of committing a hate crime and arson in connection with a Southern California mosque fire, authorities said Saturday.

Carl James Dial Jr., of Palm Desert, was arrested late Friday and booked for investigation of commission of a hate crime, arson, maliciously setting a fire and burglary, according to a Riverside County sheriff’s statement and jail records. …

Flames were reported just after noon Friday at the Islamic Center of Palm Springs. The fire was contained to the small building’s front lobby, and no one was injured. …

John Dial told NBC News he saw his son carrying a backpack on Friday and he assumed he was going to class at a local college. He said his son struggled socially.

“He was caught up in social media. Social media has produced people like my son, without person-to-person contact,” the father said. “I believe he was lacking in social skills.”

The mosque is about 75 miles from San Bernardino, where last week a couple who federal officials say were inspired by Islamist extremists killed 14 people.

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