MINNEAPOLIS (TCD) — The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced this week that a 36-year-old man was federally charged after allegedly setting fire to two mosques in the Twin Cities.
According to the complaint, in late December 2022, a suspect sent a U.S. representative an email of a male urinating on a Quran and an image of a bloody ear. Although the complaint crossed out the representative’s name, KARE-TV reports the emails were sent to Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Several days later, on Jan. 5, the complaint alleged the suspect, Jackie Rahm Little, shoplifted or tried to shoplift spray paint from a Target in Minneapolis. The incident was reportedly captured on surveillance video, and Little was seen wearing a bright yellow jacket, green pants, red shoes, glasses, and a yellow face mask. The complaint alleged he “walked with an unusual gait, with his left arm swinging widely.”
Little then allegedly went to Omar’s office at around noon and spray-painted “500” on her front door.
The complaint says the significance of 500 is “unclear.”
At approximately 9:10 p.m., investigators believe Little spray-painted “500” at a marketplace referred to as the “Somali Mall” on East 24th Street.
On Jan. 7, someone allegedly emailed Omar an image that was titled “Ready for rush n—-r.png,” and on March 6, Omar was sent another email with a picture of the “500” painted on her door.
Little allegedly started a fire in the bathroom of the Masjid Omar Islamic Center on East 24th Street on April 23, which is in the same building as the Somali Mall. Little reportedly entered the bathroom on the second floor and lit a cardboard box on fire. An employee reportedly caught and chased Little out of the building.
The next day, at around 7 p.m., a volunteer security guard reportedly noticed a fire at the Masjid Al-Rahma mosque on Bloomington Avenue, and everyone in the building, including 40 children, evacuated. As a result, the complaint said the third-floor hallway sustained significant damage. A representative of the mosque said the damages totaled tens of thousands of dollars.
According to the complaint, officials interviewed Little’s mother on April 27, and she said Little harassed a Muslim female while he was living in transitional housing, and she reported some of his behavior. The mother reportedly said Little also had a “fascination with fire from a young age,” and she “strongly” believed Little was involved with the arsons. The complaint said Little’s mother was shown surveillance video of the graffiti and arson incidents, and she recognized Little in each photo.
Little has a criminal history that includes suspected arson and domestic assault.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota announced Thursday, May 4 that Little was indicted on one count of arson and one count of damage to religious property.
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