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Anti-Semite hospitalized indefinitely for arson attack at English synagogue

Court hears Tristan Morgan laughed after he was set alight when starting blaze at 250-year-old Exeter Synagogue in July 2018

Man is set alight as he carries out arson attack on Exeter Synagogue, 21 July 2018 (Screen grab)
Man is set alight as he carries out arson attack on Exeter Synagogue, 21 July 2018 (Screen grab)

A London court on Friday ordered a man to be hospitalized indefinitely after he attempted to burn down the 18th-century Exeter Synagogue on the Jewish mourning day of Tisha B’Av last year.

Tristan Morgan, 51, was caught on surveillance cameras pouring a fire accelerant into the synagogue building and setting it alight in July 2018.

The court heard that Morgan laughed after he was set on fire during the arson attack.

After he was arrested at his home, Morgan told officers: “Please tell me that synagogue is burning to the ground. If not, it’s poor preparation.”

Prosecutor Alistair Richardson said Morgan had a “deep-rooted anti-Semitic belief, embodied in a desire to do harm to the Jewish community and an obsession with abhorrent anti-Semitic material,” the BBC reported.

Richardson said Morgan, a folk singer, made songs “exhorting others to violence” against the Jewish community and contained lyrics that “reveled in the degenerate views of Nazi Germany and white supremacists.”

Tristan Morgan (Devon and Cornwall Police)

Morgan previously admitted to arson and two terrorism-related charges.

The blaze caused £23,000 (approximately $29,000) worth of damage to the building.

The Tisha B’Av fast marks the destruction of the two biblical Jewish temples in Jerusalem.

The synagogue in Exeter, an ancient city in southwest England, is the third oldest in the country. It was dedicated in 1764.

JTA contributed to this report.

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