Gary Nathaniel Moore, 37, was arrested and charged for starting a fire Christmas day that destroyed a Houston, Texas mosque — but don’t expect the mainstream media to report on the incident. Following the tragedy, major news outlets like CBS, CNN and NBC News speculated that the fire was fueled by anti-Muslim bigotry — until it was discovered that Moore was, in fact, a Muslim.
Moore reported that he had been to the mosque early Christmas day to pray and had left to go home around 2:00 PM, according to sources and court papers. Moore claims to have been the last person to leave the mosque and saw no signs of smoke nor fire upon leaving, claim authorities. He insists he returned to the fire after hearing about it from a friend.(1,2)
MJ Khan, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, which oversees the mosque, said he was not familiar with Moore. “We are just looking into it ourselves,” he said Wednesday morning after being notified about the arrest. “We are really very surprised and saddened by this whole thing,” he added.(2)
Major news outlets threw caution to the wind
Investigators were able to identify Moore after reviewing footage from several surveillance videos at businesses near the mosque. After being granted a search warrant, police searched Moore’s home where they found a backpack and clothes like those worn by the perpetrator in the videos.(2)
Approximately 30 investigators worked around the clock trying to figure out what caused the fire. Moore was interviewed by law enforcement the day the incident occurred. Ruben Hernandez, chief arson investigator of the city’s fire department, confirmed that Moore had been present at the mosque Christmas morning.(2)
Before any facts were known, major media outlets based in D.C. seized upon the story as another piece of anti-Muslim bigotry.
“Advocacy groups believe there has been a spike in anti-Muslim incidents across the United States in recent weeks that can be linked to the mass shooting in California and the inflammatory rhetoric of Donald Trump and other Republican presidential candidates. And they say that Muslims are fearful the backlash could lead to further harassment and violence.”(1)
The Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations urged authorities to investigate the fire for an anti-Muslim motive.
“Because of the recent spike in hate incidents targeting mosques nationwide, we urge law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for this fire,” Mustafa Carroll, the chapter’s executive director, said in a statement.(1)
The Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on authorities to determine whether there was a possible bias motive in the case, because of a “recent spike in hate incidents targeting mosques nationwide.”(1)
Mainstream media pack peddles after tables turn
Now that the tables have turned with the revelation that Moore is a Muslim, don’t expect the mainstream media to retract its previous remarks. Nevertheless, many details of the investigation remain unknown, including the substance used to light the fire.
What is known is that the mainstream media used the fire as a smokescreen to promote its own agenda.
U.S. Reps. Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee said the quick response of the fire department, which required nearly 80 firefighters to put out the two story burning mosque, is testimony to the city’s dedication to protect the community.
“If this was not a hate crime, it should not be exploited as such,” said Green. “If it was, it should be exposed.”(2)
The fire department’s arson bureau and the ATF made a joint arrest at Moore’s house around 1:30 am Wednesday, where he lives with his wife and children. He was charged with first-degree arson, a felony. A motive has yet to be determined.(2)