Before beginning City Council’s regular business, Council President and Ward 3 Councilman Marco Sommerville informed Council members that the FBI has agreed to investigate a recent arson fire in his ward as a hate crime. Queen’s Convenient Store on Copley Road was torched over the weekend and anti-Arab graffiti was left at the store. The store is owned and operated by an Arab-American who recently was involved in an altercation with two African-Americans. Though those involved were meeting to resolve issues, some residents had begun picketing the store.
Sommerville called it “a difficult time for our community.” To help ease tensions, he asked Stephen Muhammad, a Muslim minster, to open the Dec. 6 Council meeting with a prayer. Local ministers routinely offer prayers for wise decision making prior to the official start of Council meetings.