Thomas Carroll, 33, received a 30-year sentence for torching several Muslim-owned businesses in San Antonio during 2003 and 2004. When handing down the sentence, Judge Phil Kazen entered findings that Carroll committed the offenses because of his bias against a group identified by national origin and ancestry—enhancing the sentence as a result of Texas hate crime legislation.
In 2002, Carroll was also arrested for ramming his Toyota Land Cruiser into a Muslim-owned gas station.
"Terrorists commit crimes based on hatred of a people or a religion and such acts will not be tolerated and will be dealt with firmly," said Bexar County District Attorney Susan D. Reed.
A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today applauded the prison sentence. "The stiff sentence handed down in this case sends a positive message to the American Muslim community that bias-motivated attacks will be prosecuted with vigor," said CAIR-San Antonio Chairwoman Sarwat Husain. Husain also thanked all those involved in the investigation and prosecution of the case for their professionalism and dedication to the pursuit of justice.
In April of last year, CAIR-San Antonio held a "community solidarity" news conference in reaction to the arson attacks. Participants in the news conference included local elected officials and representatives from a number of civil liberties oranizations, minority groups and law enforcement agencies.
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (OfficialWire) 03/01/05