RELIGION

Investigator: Suspect in Texas mosque fire feared Muslims

A federal agent says a man suspected of burning down a Texas mosque in January allegedly believed those who worshipped there were terrorists.

Rick Miller, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, testified Thursday that based on social media messages, Marq Vincent Perez monitored the Islamic center in Victoria, about 125 miles southwest of Houston, before setting fire to it Jan. 28.

Miller says an informant said Perez believed Muslims were allowed to marry children and that mosque members were terrorists. He also says Perez messaged a friend that the hardest part was "getting the town to believe the evidence" and that "only us soldiers" are "armed and ready."

Perez hasn't been charged in the mosque fire. Thursday's hearing pertained to an unrelated charge alleging he tried setting fire to a car earlier in January. He was arrested last week in that case.