Arson charges filed in Minneapolis mosque fire

A Minneapolis man is charged with arson in connection to Monday’s fire at Mercy Islamic Center.

The fire occurred on April 24 at Masjid Al Rahma off Bloomington Avenue around 7 p.m. At the mosque, Minneapolis crews knocked down a small fire in a room on the third floor. People on the second floor needed to be evacuated from the building as crews worked.

Hennepin County prosecutors charged Jackie Rahm Little, 36, with second-degree arson in connection to the fire. 

According to court records, Little was believed to have been seen on surveillance video at a nearby gas station purchasing a container and filling it with gas the day of the fire. 

Police said Little was captured on surveillance video entering the mosque while carrying a bag with a gas can inside. Shortly after, a staff member in the mosque noticed a fire on the top floor in a hallway near the office space. 

When crews arrived they found a melted plastic gas can where the fire originated. The fire caused damages estimated to be over $1,000, according to charges. 

Minneapolis police were also investigating a second fire at the Masjid Omar Islamic Center off East 24th Street on April 23. When firefighters arrived, they found a small fire in the mosque's bathroom that had been put out before crews arrived. Charges have not been filed in Sunday's fire. 

Authorities did not say whether the two mosque fires were related however, Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara previously said they would investigate the fires as if they were connected until proven otherwise. 

Little was charged via warrant in relation to Monday’s fire. He is currently not in custody, according to court records.