RNA - Prosecutors have filed a new upgraded criminal charge against the Port St. Lucie man accused of setting fire to a mosque in Ft. Pierce. The new, more serious criminal charge is spelled out in a charging document CBS12 obtained from the State Attorney’s office.
Prosecutors have filed a charge of arson with a hate-crime enhancement against Joseph Schreiber, 32, who detectives say was caught on surveillance video during the attack on the mosque. A crime that happened exactly one month ago— on September 11.
The enhanced criminal charge against Schreiber means his possible prison sentence doubles to 30-years, rather than 15-years if convicted.
Exactly month ago, flames raced through the Islamic Center of Ft. Pierce located at 1104 west Midway Rd.
The central portion of the mosque was gutted by fire. The roof collapsed, leaving a gaping hole and charred debris everywhere.
One month later, Muslims are temporarily holding prayer services five times a day in a part of the mosque that escaped the fire.
“We have faith in the judicial system and whatever justice decides for him we will be okay with that,” said Humayun Shareef, a worshipper at the Islamic Center of Ft. Pierce.
Worshipers say they will rebuild, and one of them has a message for the alleged arsonist who set this place on fire.
“I don’t have any personal animosity with that guy. I never met him in my life and I don’t even know why he did that,” said Syed Shafeeq Rahman, Imam at the Islamic Center of Ft. Pierce.
The Imam says the upgraded charge does not give him more satisfaction.
“I’m not that kind of person to celebrate on somebody’s punishments. We are human beings and there is no worship by the name of hate in Islam. In islam there is no hate. You’re not supposed to be hating any human being,” the Imam said.
Imam Rahman says so far, the public has donated about $80,000 to help the mosque rebuild.
Demolition could begin as early as next week.