Texas: arsonist gets 14 months for attack on mosque playground

Dar El Eman Islamic Center playground fireA man whose confessed hatred of Arabs led him to burn down a playground at an Arlington mosque was sentenced to 14 months in prison Monday. He had faced a maximum of 20 years for the hate crime.

Henry Clay Glaspell, 35, pleaded guilty in February to setting the fire at the Dar El-Eman Islamic Center at 5511 Mansfield Road – about a half mile from his home at the time. He admitted to a federal court in Fort Worth that he targeted the mosque for days, throwing used cat litter at its door, stealing pipe from it and shouting ethnic slurs at worshippers.

At the time of his crime, July 2010, many across the country were outraged by a New York developer’s plan to build a large Islamic community center near the site of the 9/11 attacks in Manhattan – which detractors dubbed “the ground zero mosque.”

In his plea, Glaspell stated that he did not hate Muslims, but rather Arabs and people of Middle Eastern descent. He will have to pay nearly $12,000 in restitution – the estimated cost of damage to the playground.

Dallas Morning News, 25 October 2011