A fire has destroyed the prominent Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeneyville, South Carolina.
UPDATE: It is suspected the fire was caused by lightning strikes.
Although there is no evidence of arson, the church is the seventh place of worship serving the black community to burn down since the deadly attack on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in nearby Charleston, the Huffington Post reports.
a black church was set on fire in south carolina and that was the seventh one in a week
— nal-duh (@naldork) July 1, 2015
Six of the fires during the past two weeks have occurred in Southern states, and three of these have been confirmed as arson. The other three are under investigation.
The fire took place on Tuesday night, and eventually the building collapsed. Federal authorities joined local officials on the scene. According to Mark Keel, chief of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, lightning could have been the cause as thunder storms had recently passed through the area.
Greeneyville’s Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church was burned down by arsonists twenty years ago in 1995. The perpetrators had ties to the Ku Klux Klan as former members. President Bill Clinton attended the dedication the new church – which now burned down – in 1996.
United States has a long history of racially-motivated attacks on black churches. President Barack Obama addressed darker parts of the American history in his emotional eulogy last Friday by saying that the attack in Charleston “was an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress.”