Criminal charges were filed Wednesday against a 23-year- old man who allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail into a Coachella Valley mosque last week.
Carl James Dial, 23, of Palm Desert, appeared at the Larson Justice Center in Indio Wednesday afternoon and pleaded not guilty to charges of arson of a structure, burglary and committing a hate crime, according to John Hall of the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
He is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 28 for a felony settlement conference.
Dial was arrested Friday night in the 700 block of Country Club Drive in Palm Desert, hours after the firebombing of the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley, and held in lieu of $150,000 bail.
The fire at the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley came nine days after a radicalized couple from Redlands killed 14 people and injured 22 others during a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino on Dec. 2.
Dozens of threats, harassment and vandalism have one been reported at mosques nationwide since Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his 27-year-old wife, Tashfeen Malik, carried out their attack and were killed in a shootout with officers.
A “Molotov cocktail-like device” was thrown into the reception area of the 1,800-square-foot Islamic Society mosque at 84650 Avenue 49 at 12:09 p.m.
Cal Fire Riverside officials said crews contained the flames to the lobby area at 12:46 p.m., but there was smoke damage throughout the mosque. No injuries were reported.
Islamic Society President Reymundo Nour said the attack occurred before the start of an afternoon prayer session.
— Wire reports