Man charged in Minneapolis mosque fires makes first court appearance

Man accused of starting Mpls mosque fires appears in court

Man accused of starting Mpls mosque fires appears in court

A Plymouth man who is charged in connection to fires at two Minneapolis mosques last week has made his initial court appearance.

Monday morning, 36-year-old Jackie Rahm Little, also known as Joel Arthur Tueting, appeared in federal court on arson charges.

RELATED: Federal charges filed against Minneapolis mosque arson suspect

Prosecutors allege Little started a fire in the bathroom of the Masjid Omar Islamic Center on April 23, then set a fire in the Masjid Al Rahma Mosque around 24 hours later.

The acts put the metro Muslim community on high alert and led Minneapolis police to add enhanced patrols near places of worship.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Little was also spotted on surveillance video going into the Minneapolis district office of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar on Jan. 5, spray-painting “500” on the office’s door and then taking a picture of it. He also allegedly spray-painted “500” on a patrol vehicle later that day.

Court documents show Little has been charged with arson at least once before, in December 2021. The criminal complaint says Little set a car on fire outside an apartment building he was previously evicted from. Court records show Little was eventually released on cash bail, paid by the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a group that claims to pay bail for low-income individuals who are awaiting trial.

In response to the most recent charges against Little, Minnesota Freedom Fund issued the following statement:

“We strongly condemn harm against all people in our community, especially harm that is based on identity. We have reached out to the Muslim community, including to Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Minnesota, and we will continue to practice accountability and solidarity with our Muslim neighbors who were harmed by these acts of arson at their places of worship.

“While Minnesota Freedom Fund welcomes direct accountability with people harmed, we do not disclose information about our clients or their cases to the media. As we have previously stated on the record, our evaluation process is holistic and prioritizes support for people who lack other avenues to vindicate their legal rights – including people experiencing mental health challenges, for whom pre-trial release is often the only way to access needed treatment.”

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Little’s court appearance lasted only about 10 minutes Monday and he was ordered to remain in custody until his next hearing, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. this Thursday.

A judge has appointed a federal defender for Little and will also decide soon if he will remain behind bars during court proceedings.