Concerns are growing in the southern US over a spate of possible arson incidents at black churches in the wake of the South Carolina shooting.
Seven historically black churches have burned down in just 10 days across four southern states, after the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal church was “gutted” by flames on Tuesday night.
It comes after Dylann Roof was accused of killing nine people in an attack on the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina on 17 June. He has been charged with nine counts of murder and hate crimes.
The latest church burning came just nine hours after the NAACP issued a statement “alerting black churches to take necessary precautions”.
Heavy fire at Mt Zion AME church near Greeleyville in Williamsburg County. Mutual aid dept's on scene. pic.twitter.com/GoQESXdJPS— Carter Jones (@SCFireCarter) July 1, 2015
An unnamed source at the FBI, which has said it is investigating the spate of burnings, has since told the Associated Press that the Mount Zion fire was not believed to be arson.
Local officials also observed that the fire appeared to break out during storms and that the accidental burning of churches is not uncommon across the US.
But the FBI has said that at least two of the incidents in the past 10 days were clear cases of arson.
Although the cases have received significant coverage in mainstream US outlets coverage across, there has been anger that the level of interest in the story has not garnered enough attention.
The hashtag #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches, has received more than 150,000 mentions.
What if there were a resurgence of terrorist attacks on American churches. Should 24news make time for that? #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches?— jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) June 30, 2015
If a foreign power did this, we would call it an invasion and respond accordingly. #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches— Goldie Taylor (@goldietaylor) July 1, 2015
Define terrorism: Me telling my mother not to attend church this Sunday #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches— BlackGirlNerds (@BlackGirlNerds) July 1, 2015
I seen dumpsters set on fire in riots get more news coverage than these churches #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches— Victor Pope Jr (@VictorPopeJr) July 1, 2015
Asking why and asking who but everyone knows the answers. The problem is the lack of action. #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches— Kaream (@KareamLawrence) July 1, 2015
BC you aren't black doesn't mean you shouldn't be effected. Our CHRISTIAN brothers and sisters are being attacked #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches— Ashley Blake (@lilolered) July 1, 2015
Hey, let's start burning huddle houses, truck stops, 4H clubs, and banks. If you want press, that'll do it. #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches— Xeger (@Xeger1) July 1, 2015
Mount Zion AME, the last church to burn, was previously victim to an arson attack by two members of the Ku Klux Klan on 20 June, 1995. Mount Zion AME Church burned down on June 20, 1995.
Cezar McKnight, a South Carolina Democrat, told the Post and Courier: “South Carolina has been through a lot the last two weeks and we’ve made the best of a terrible situation.
“I would hate for this to be something somebody did on purpose to try to poison the love and fellowship.”Reuse content