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Man sentenced for setting fire to mosque with worshippers inside

A judge in Cape Girardeau, Missouri sentenced an arsonist to a maximum recommended sentence of 191 months in prison for setting a local mosque on fire.

KSDK reports there were about one dozen people inside when Nicholas John Proffitt broke a window, threw two containers inside and poured the liquid out of those containers before lighting the blaze, according to court records.

Profitt apologized for his action and said he had been confused for a long time.

“I just want to say I will continue to take my medication so that something like this will never happen again,” Proffitt said, according to the Southeast Missourian.

The court also ordered Proffitt to pay a fine of $544,000 to the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau.

He pleaded guilty in December for the 2020 fire.

His attorney said her client suffered from delusion and schizophrenia.

I think a 16-year sentence shows this is something that the government takes very, very seriously, and we will hold accountable anyone who attacks one of our pillars of the country,” said Jay Greenberg, special agent in charge for the FBI St. Louis Division.

KFVS12 reports the mosque is in the process of rebuilding its mosque on a new property.

Temple leaders called for forgiveness.

“We ask that Allah forgive him and for others also to be aware that they cannot just come and attack people for whatever their religion is or their group. Peace is much better,” said Hafez Amer.

Mosque leaders say their community will come back stronger. They say their new Islamic center will be completed by the end of the year.

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