Calif. Man Charged With Hate Crime in Mosque Fire
Carl Dial described as loner; dad says 'no plans to bail him out'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2015 9:07 AM CST
A police car sits in front of the Islamic Center of Coachella Valley on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.   (AP Photo/The Desert Sun, Colin Atagi)
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(Newser) – A 23-year-old California man is facing five felony charges after a fire broke out at the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley mosque Friday afternoon, some 15 minutes before afternoon prayers. Carl Dial was charged Friday evening with commission of a hate crime, arson, maliciously setting a fire, and second-degree burglary, reports the Los Angeles Times, in the latest attack on a mosque since the San Bernardino shooting, which occurred 75 miles away. "We were just here trying to be free and practice our religion, just like everybody else," says a worshipper, who credited "the will of God" for more people not being inside when the blaze broke out. Witnesses reported hearing an explosion beforehand; no cause has yet been determined.

Speaking with NBC News, Dial's father, John Dial, characterized him as something of a loner "caught up in social media ... (which) has produced people like my son, without person-to-person contact." The elder Dial appeared unsympathetic, saying that while mental health issues may have played a role, "We have no plans to bail him out. He's an adult... we said to him, I hope you like reading books, because you're in it for the long haul. He's a man." Carl Dial's bail has been set at $150,000, notes NBC. "If in fact it was done with the mosque as a target ... it's reprehensible, and the people who perpetrated that act should be treated the way we would any other terrorist," the Riverside County supervisor tells the Times.