US Christian minister indicted in planning to burn mosque

Robert Doggart planned to attack the Muslim-majority town of Islamberg, New York

US Christian minister indicted in planning to burn mosque

World Bulletin / News Desk

A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted a former congressional candidate with one-count of soliciting help to attack a New York mosque in violation of federal civil rights laws.

In a report to Anadolu Agency, Robert Doggart, 63, of Tennessee planned to burn a mosque, school and a cafeteria in Islamberg, a small Muslim-majority town in New York state.  

He solicited the help of others through Facebook and phone calls “to damage and destroy religious property (a mosque), knowing the religious nature of the property,” according to court documents.

Doggart, a Christian minister, was released on $30,000 bail to two family members earlier this week after he pleaded guilty to one count of interstate communication of threats. He was released on condition that he seek psychiatric treatment, according to media reports.

In the decision to release Doggart, a judge said prosecutors had failed to prove his release would pose a “true threat” under federal law.

Doggart was arrested in May for plotting the attack, which was to include the use of guns, explosives and a machete to attack buildings and kill Muslims.

If convicted, Doggart faces up to 10 years in prison.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Perry H. Piper and Chris Poole of the Eastern District of Tennessee, and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Saeed Mody. 

In light of Doggart’s release, Muslim groups have called for extra protections for Islamberg. In a statement issued by the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights organization, said Doggart’s case was another indicator in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide, and called on the Obama administration to treat Doggart’s “planned, religiously motivated attack as an act of domestic terrorism”.

In a statement, the public relations director for TMOA, The Muslims of America, Muhammad Matthew Gardner, said “Doggart is an example of the results of unchecked and rampant Islamophobia which has spread lies for years about our peaceful community. This man plotted mercilessly to kill us, kill our children and blow up our mosque and our school.”



Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Temmuz 2015, 10:07