Man accused of hate crime in southern California mosque fire

Man accused of hate crime in southern California mosque fire

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.

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“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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