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Missouri man indicted on hate crime, arson charges in fire that destroyed Islamic Center

The fire, set on the first day of Ramadan, destroyed the Cape Girardeau Islamic Center.
Damage to the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau, Mo. after a fire on April 24, 2020.
Damage to the Islamic Center of Cape Girardeau, Mo. after a fire on April 24, 2020.Jacob Wiegand / The Southeast Missourian via AP file

A Missouri man was indicted Tuesday on hate crime and arson charges after allegedly destroying an Islamic Center on the first day of Ramadan.

Nicholas Proffitt.Cape Girardeau Police Department via AP

Nicholas J. Proffitt, 42, allegedly targeted the Cape Girardeau Islamic Center on April 24 because of its “religious character,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said.

None of the dozen or so people who were at the center were injured in the fire, but the property was declared a total loss, the Islamic Center of Greater St. Louis said. A few families who lived there lost everything, the group said.

Cape Girardeau is roughly 120 miles south of St. Louis.

Proffitt was arrested April 30, court documents show. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 14.

Additional details about the charges weren't immediately available. A lawyer for Profitt did not respond to a request for comment.