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NY man accused in mosque attack held without bail

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York City man accused in a series of New Year's Day Molotov cocktail attacks that hit a mosque and a Hindu place of worship has been ordered held without bail, prosecutors said on Thursday.

Ray Lazier Lengend, a 40-year-old unemployed tow-truck driver from Guyana, was arraigned at Bellevue Hospital Center, where he is under psychological observation.

He is accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at five locations in Queens and Long Island, including firebombs aimed at the front entrance of the Imam al-Khoei Foundation, a Shi'ite organization in the New York City borough of Queens, while some 75 to 80 people were inside.

No injuries were reported but one of the private homes suffered severe fire damage.

According to police and prosecutors, Lengend was motivated by both anti-Muslim bias and personal grudges.

"In response to being asked why he would attack a mosque the defendant stated that he hated all the Muslims and Arabs because they were trying to take over his life. They have been doing it for 40 years," according to a court document provided by the Queens District Attorney's Office.

Lengend's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lengend faces charges of first-degree arson, arson as a hate crime, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property, among other charges.

If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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