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Mosque

Fire officials: Tampa, Florida, mosque fire was arson

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

An intentionally set fire damaged a prayer hall at a Tampa-area mosque early Friday, investigators said. The arson occurred at the Islamic Society of New Tampa, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said in a news release. Fire investigators responded at around 2 a.m. After gathering evidence, they determined the fire was intentionally set. No one was at the mosque when the fire started. “It is worrisome that our community has fallen victim of what appears to be another hate crime,” said…

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Pinellas man who threatened mosque pleads guilty to hate crime

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A Pinellas man accused of threatening to firebomb a mosque last fall has pleaded guilty to a hate crime in federal court. The Justice Department reported in a news release Friday that 43-year-old Martin Alan Schnitzler of Seminole pleaded guilty to obstructing persons in the free exercise of religious beliefs. He faces up to 20 years in prison, but sentencing guidelines will likely call for a significantly lighter punishment. Schnitzler admitted in his plea that he left a voicemail for the…

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Authorities investigate threat made against mosque in St. Petersburg

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Federal authorities are investigating a threat made against a mosque in Florida. Local news agencies report a caller left a threatening phone massage to the Islamic Society of St. Petersburg Friday night, following the terrorist attacks in France. Hatem Jaber, a volunteer and teacher at the mosque, says he received a voicemail which threatened to “firebomb” the mosque and shoot people in the head. Jaber says the caller also referenced Friday’s attacks in Paris, saying, “This act in France is…

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The Florida Independent launches

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The Florida Independent launched this morning at floridaindependent.com with a featured story about a recent pipe-bomb attack on a Jacksonville mosque highlighting tensions over the appointment of a Muslim to the local Human Rights Commission.  This afternoon will bring a piece describing how Gov. Charlie Crist’s environmental record led to his departure from the Republican Party, followed by another about Miami students lobbying Florida lawmakers to support the DREAM Act, each present on the home page of The Florida Independent.…

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