Accused Arlington mosque vandal goes to court



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Posted on February 22, 2011 at 7:06 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 23 at 12:20 PM

ARLINGTON — Surveillance video from last July shows a man spray-painting an obscene drawing on the parking lot of the Dar El-Eman mosque in south Arlington.

In the drawing, Uncle Sam is sexually assaulting Allah.

Other surveillance video shows the same man setting fire to the mosque's playground equipment.

On Tuesday afternoon Henry Glaspell, who lives near the mosque, appeared in federal court in Fort Worth to face hate crime charges.

According to court documents, Glaspell set fire to religious property because of "the race, color, and ethnic characteristics of the individuals associated with the property."

He was released pending another hearing Wednesday morning. Court filings indicate he will plead guilty at that time.

"We just wanted to see him get his day in court, which is what he got today," said former Mosque president Jamal Qaddura. He praised Arlington police and the FBI for handling the investigation.

Qaddura says shortly after Glaspell's initial arrest, he actually returned to the mosque to apologize.

"He just came by to see if there was anything he could do to make up," Qaddura said.

Worshipers are convinced Glaspell intended to destroy the mosque itself. Under Federal hate crime statutes, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

"To place fear in American citizens' hearts is no minor crime," Qaddura said. "That is terrorism."