American charged with hate crime for attacks on temple, mosque

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 12:00 [IST]
 
American charged with hate crime

New York, Mar 20: A 40-year-old New York man has been charged with hate crime for throwing firebombs at four locations across the city, including at a Hindu temple and mosque, on New Year's day this year.

An indictment unsealed yesterday in Brooklyn federal court charges Ray Lazier Lengend, also known as 'Suraj Poonai', with hate crimes and explosives offenses stemming from his racially and religiously motivated fire-bombings of the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation mosque and a Hindu temple housed in a private residence in Queens on Jan 1, 2012, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch said in a statement here.

Lengend is also charged with an explosives offense in connection with his fire-bombing of a convenience store in Queens. He will be arraigned on Mar 26 before US Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes. If convicted Lengend faces a minimum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life. Lengend's fire-bombing spree began on the evening of Jan 1 when he threw a flaming bottle filled with gasoline at a local convenience store. A store employee extinguished the flames and no one was hurt in the incident.

Lengend's next target was a private residence, which caught fire when he hurled molotov cocktails at the building. He later went to the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation mosque, where he threw glass bottles containing gasoline at the building with the goal of inflicting damage on the mosque and harming Muslims and Arabs.

Lengend's final fire-bombing in Queens targeted the Hindu temple, located inside the residence of the temple's leader. Lengend was arrested within two days of the attacks.

PTI 

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