FBI Called to Join Arson Investigation at Home of Ohio Muslim Family

by on March 7th, 2015
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Hilliard, Ohio is usually a busy, but quiet Columbus, Ohio suburb consisting mainly of working families. At the Hilliard home of Mohamed Soltan, the son of an allegedly controversial scholar who no longer resides in the United States, living in Hilliard appears to be getting increasingly difficult. In the fall of 2011, slurs such as “(expletive) Arab go home” were very visible after being painted on his home and garage in large print. Someone took the resentment even further before daylight on the morning of Jan. 16, and set an intentional fire at the home which resulted in heavy damage to the residence. Both Mohamed Soltan and a family friend were able to safely flee the home.

After an initial investigation, local officials called in the state fire marshals to aid in the investigation who determined the fire was intentionally set. The Council on American-Islamic Relations asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to join in the investigation of the fire as being a possible hate crime, according to a report by the Columbus Dispatch. On its Friday morning broadcast, January 20, WBNS-10TV Columbus reported the FBI is now investigating the fire at the home.

This is not the only recent incident of alleged actions in and near Columbus Ohio specifically targeting Muslims. A Muslim store owner verbalized his concerns that he was being targeted as a result of a hate crime after his store on the north side of Columbus was broken into, vandalized and “9-11″ spray-painted across store windows and store counters in September 2010. Then in December 2010, WBNS-10TV also reported on an alleged hate crime against a Muslim woman who was first threatened, then pepper-sprayed by a white man in the parking lot of Abubaker Siddique Islamic Center on the west side of Columbus. Federal authorities also joined in investigating that incident, from which video surveillance was obtained.

The investigation into the Hilliard arson fire at 4907 Britton Farms Drive continues.


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