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Someone is burning black churches again — this time in St. Louis

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Federal and local law enfrocement are investigating a string of five fires at churches in predominantly black St. Louis neighborhoods, Fox2Now reports.

The most recent fire was Saturday morning at New Life Missionary Baptist Church. All five fires happened within the last 10 days and are within three miles of each other. They all have been set at the front doors of the buildings. No one has been hurt and damage to the inside of the structures has been minimal, NBC News reports.

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Investigators from the St. Louis Fire, Regional Bomb and Arson and the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are looking for links between the fires.

Other churches set ablaze have included Bethel Non-Denominational Church, New Northside Missionary Baptist Church, St. Augustine Catholic Church and the New Testament Church of Christ, according to NBC.

“It is arson,’ said St. Louis Fire Captain Garon Mosby told Fox2. ‘These are being intentionally set. This is not spontaneous combustion, so they are not occurring on their own.”

Pastor David Briggs told Fox2 he got a phone call at 5 a.m. this morning that the church was ablaze.

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“I started praising God that no one was in the building,” he told the station.

It’s not the first time black churches have been set afire under suspicious circumstances.

In June, seven black churches burned overnight in the South, all within about a week of each other. The church fires seemed to follow the shooting deaths of nine African-American churchgoers in Charleston by a white supremacist.

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Investigators later determined those fires were not linked, and some were started accidentally, TIME reports. Questions were raised about the timing, since the Ku Klux Klan became active after the Charleston church shooting at Emanuel AME.

Church burning was a terror tactic commonly used by the Klan and white supremacists against black people in the pre-Civil Rights era South.

In St. Louis the similarity of the fires and their proximity seem to point to the fires being connected.

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“We’ve got similarities in how the fires are set, which is what we’re looking at,”  St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson told NBC.

Rev. Rodrick Burton called the attacks “troubling,” but added, “We’re resolved all the more to be there for this community.”

Watch a report by NBC News here:

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Texas governor busted sending racist call-to-arms a day before El Paso attack: ‘take matters into our own hands’

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On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) tweeted out a message of unity and promised to work to reduce violence in his state, in the wake of the shooting in El Paso that left 22 dead and dozens more injured:

Today we had hearings responding to the tragic shooting in El Paso.

We focused on community healing, combating domestic terrorism, reducing hateful ideologies, & keeping guns out of hands of deranged killers while respecting 2nd Amendment rights.

We’ll keep TX safe.#txlege pic.twitter.com/ymct4aiSgK

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Facebook bans far-right website from pro-Trump advertising after they try to skirt transparency rules

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On Thursday, NBC News reported that Facebook has banned the Epoch Times from placing political advertisements, after the right-wing website tried to conceal its multimillion-dollar dark money streams and get around the social network's political advertising transparency rules in its propaganda supporting President Donald Trump.

The Epoch Times had tried to skirt rules by running ads under puppet names like "Honest Paper" and "Pure American Journalism," confusing users about who was really behind the ads.

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Former Overstock CEO tells Fox News the Feds wanted him to sleep with Russian spy Maria Butina

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Longtime Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne resigned on Thursday after issuing a bizarre press release that caused the company's stock to tank.

Byrne then went on Fox News to claim that federal officials urged him to have a romantic relationship with Russian spy Maria Butina.

He claimed that the government told him they never asked citizens to engage in romantic relationships, but it was "such a national security risk" that the government asked Byrne, then in his fifties, to sleep with Butina, who was at the time in her twenties and half his age.

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