Update to this story. The mosque’s Imam used the incident to call for laws to make burning the Koran illegal.
DEARBORN — On Wednesday June 25, police arrested an Iraqi American who was trying to burn the Qur’an in front of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center on Warren Avenue.
Ali Hassan Al-Assadi, 50, of Detroit, also admitted to burning three Qur’ans at the Karbalaa Center on June 10, according to Lt. Doug Topolski of the Dearborn Police Department.
The first Qur’an burning incident coincided with the visit of an anti-Muslim pastor from Florida and made national headlines.
Al-Assadi was charged with littering and “unlawful escape of soot.” Releasing soot, an ash-like substance produced by the incomplete burning of organic items, breaches Dearborn’s fire code. He posted bonds of $300 and $200, respectively, for the two violations.
Al-Assadi told police that he sought help from local mosques to solve a legal matter, but when he was turned down, he became angry at the faith and decided to burn Qur’ans in retribution.
On June 25, around noon, Al-Assadi was standing on the sidewalk in front of Karbalaa Center, holding a wooden club. A Qur’an was burning on the ground next to him. According to the police report, he threatened to strike a witness with the club if he came closer. Meanwhile, another witness took the club away from him and put the fire out.
Imam Husham Al-Husainy, the spiritual leader of the Karbalaa Center, said he does not know Al-Assadi. “He never asked for my help. I have never met him,” he said.