Suspected Florida Mosque Arsonist Showed Support for Trump, Netanyahu on Social Media

Joseph Michael Schreiber, identified by police as the the suspected arsonist behind the burning of the Florida mosque where Pulse shooter Omar Mateen prayed, appears to harbor extreme anti-Muslim views and support U.S presidential candidate Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to his social media postings.


The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday that Schreiber, who is 32 years old, was arrested and is being questioned about Sunday night’s fire at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce.

Schreiber’s Facebook page features posts promoting Trump's campaign literature and Netanyahu's Facebook page, as well as repeated shares of videos created by pro-Israel organizations, including the Israel Project and Zionist Organization of America. One video advocates military escalation towards Iran, featuring text which states that “Israel’s very existence is being threatened.”

These positions appear to dovetail with anti-Muslim views.

On July 12, Schreiber wrote, “IF AMERICA truly wants peace and safety and pursuit of happiness they should consider all forms of ISLAM as radical, the truth is that there is no such a thing as radical ISLAMIC extremism...ALL ISLAM IS RADICAL, and should be considered TERRORIST AND CRIMANALS and all hoo participate in such activity should be found guilty of WAR CRIM until law and order is restored in this beautiful free country, all who agree with this statement, like it and make a comment.”

A few days later, Schreiber posted an article titled, “Only a Demented Fool Believes Islam Is Not the Problem.”

Schreiber also appears to harbor anti-refugee sentiments, sharing a petition in late June to “halt Syrian refugee resettlement.” The petition states, “The attacks in Paris and elsewhere highlight the need to secure our country's refugee system and ensure terrorists are not admitted.”

Schreiber is accused of setting the September 11th fire that caused significant damage to the Islamic Center. The attack was waged at the start of the Islamic Eid al Adha holiday, and community members say it follows escalating violence and harassment following Mateen’s June 12 shooting rampage at the LGBTQ Pulse nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 people. According to the Islamic Center’s communications director Wilfredo Ruiz, one member of the community was beaten so badly in July that his jaw was broken.

Speaking outside of the damaged mosque on Tuesday, Ruiz denounced the arson as an act of hate and said, “We are not going anywhere. We are staying. My home is here. I was born in America. I am an American citizen. We are a part of you.”

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