05:04 GMT31 May 2020
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    A US man who set a Texas mosque on fire in January 2017 in the wake of travel ban order signed by President Trump is facing up to 20 years behind bars, the Department of Justice announced in a press release.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A 25-year-old man has been charged under federal hate-crime laws for setting a fire that destroyed the Victoria Islamic Center mosque in the US state of Texas, according to the release.

    "If convicted, [Marq] Perez faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the hate crime," the release stated on Thursday. "He also faces up to ten years for possessing an unregistered destructive device."

    The January 28 blaze grabbed international headlines, in part because it roared through the mosque hours after President Donald Trump signed the first of two executive orders restricting travel from several Muslim nations, the Texas Tribune newspaper reported at the time.

    The charred mosque sparked an outpouring of support from the local community, which helped raise more than $1 million within a week of the attack, local media reported.

    Four months later, members of the Victoria Islamic Center broke ground for a new mosque on the same spot.


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