US: 40-yr-old charged for attacks on temple, mosque

A 40-year-old man from Queens has been charged with hate crime for throwing firebombs at four locations across the city.

New York: A 40-year-old man from Queens near here has been charged with hate crime for throwing firebombs at four locations across the city, including a Hindu temple and mosque, on New Year`s day this year.

An indictment unsealed today in Brooklyn federal court charges Ray Lazier Lengend, also known as `Suraj Poonai`, with hate crimes and explosives offenses stemming from his racially and religiously motivated fire-bombings of the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation mosque and a Hindu temple housed in a private residence in Queens on January 1, 2012, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch said in a statement here.

Lengend is also charged with an explosives offense in connection with his fire-bombing of a convenience store in Queens. He will be arraigned on March 26 before US Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes.

If convicted Lengend faces a minimum sentence of 20 years` imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life.

Lengend`s fire-bombing spree began on the evening of January 1 when he threw a flaming bottle filled with gasoline at a local convenience store.

A store employee extinguished the flames and no one was hurt in the incident.

Lengend`s next target was a private residence, which caught fire when he hurled molotov cocktails at the building. He later went to the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation mosque, where he threw glass bottles containing gasoline at the building with the goal of inflicting damage on the mosque and harming Muslims and Arabs.

Lengend`s final fire-bombing in Queens targeted the Hindu temple, located inside the residence of the temple’s leader.

Lengend was arrested within two days of the attacks.