الثلاثاء , مايو 18 2021

Fire claims another US black church

Smoke rises from Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal church on 1 July, in Greeleyville, South Carolina

Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire

An African-American church once targeted by the Ku Klux Klan has been destroyed in a fire again, the latest in a series of blazes at black churches across the US south.

Authorities are still trying to determine the cause of the fire at the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal church in Greeleyville, South Carolina.

The FBI is investigating several fires at black churches in recent days.

At least three of those blazes were intentionally set, officials say.

However, officials said there is no evidence as of yet that the fires are linked.

After hearing the news, Eddie Woods Jr, a local councilman, rushed to the scene of the fire late Tuesday.

“That was a tough thing to see,” Mr Woods told the AP news agency. “It is hurting those people again. But we’re going to rebuild. If this was someone, they need to know that hate won’t stop us again.”

No one was in hurt in the fire and investigators plan to return to the scene on Wednesday.

Authorities in South Carolina cautioned that a storm that swept through the area on Tuesday night may have been the cause.


Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal had been rebuilt after an arson in 1995

But others suspected arson because the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal church has been targeted before.

In 1995, members of the Ku Klux Klan burned the church to the ground. It was one of a number of racially motivated attacks on black churches in the mid-1990s.

The church was rebuilt and then-President Bill Clinton commemorated its reopening.

The fires came about a week after nine black churchgoers were shot and killed in Charleston, South Carolina in what police called a racially motivated attack.

The tragedy has reignited debate about race relations and sparked a backlash against the Confederate flag.

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