Nativism WatchIslamophobia

DOJ charges mastermind behind violent Islamberg plot


Imagine2050 Staff • Jul 10, 2015
 

UPDATE: On July 13th, Robert Doggart pleaded not guilty to the charge of soliciting allies to help him commit civil rights violations, an offense that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. The trial is scheduled to begin September 21st. Islamberg community members, representing Doggart’s alleged target, showed up outside the federal courthouse in Chattanooga, Tennessee demanding that he face harsher charges for the plot.

Read More: Tenn. man pleads not guilty in plot on S. Tier mosque

On Tuesday, a federal judge charged Robert Doggart, a failed congressional candidate from Tennessee, with soliciting help to burn down a mosque in a Muslim-majority community in Hancock, New York.

“Doggart has been charged with one count of soliciting others to violate federal civil rights laws by intentionally defacing, damaging or destroying any religious property,” reads a press release issued by the Department of Justice.

If convicted, Doggart, who is known for his extreme right-wing views, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Islamberg

Islamberg is in Delaware County, New York

The indictment of Doggart follows the absurd decision last week by Curtis Collier, the federal judge presiding over the case, to reject the Tennessee man’s initial plea bargain and release him from house arrest until prosecutors could prove he was, in fact, a “true threat.”

Doggart dominated headlines in mid-April after a plea agreement was released to the public detailing his plans to lead an attack on Islamberg, a hamlet in Hancock County in which residents are primarily African American Muslims. The community has long been vilified by far-right and anti-Muslim pundits.

“We’re gonna be carrying an M4 with 500 rounds of ammunition, light armor piercing. A pistol with three extra magazines, and a machete. And if it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds,” Doggart said of the planned attack, according to an FBI wiretap.

The criminal complaint against Doggart reveals that he planned to enlist help from other individuals to carry out the heavily armed assault. This included soliciting the assistance of members of a militia group listed only as “OAF.”

Other plans listed in the complaint include burning down a mosque, a school, and a cafeteria.

Doggart was arrested on April 10 and pleaded guilty to making threats via “interstate communication,” which carries a maximum of five years in prison and $250,000 fine. It is also considered a non-terrorism offense. Until last week, Doggart was confined to house arrest on a $300,000 bond.

While the new charges brought against Doggart are harsher, many argue they are still not consistent with the severity of the atrocities he intended to commit.

While the new charges brought against Doggart are harsher, many argue they are still not consistent with the severity of the atrocities he intended to commit. Muslim Advocates, a legal advocacy and educational organization committed to challenging anti-Muslim bigotry, is calling for Doggart to be charged with a federal hate crime.

“To secure full justice, however, Muslim Advocates continues to urge the DOJ to charge Doggart […] with a federal hate crime under 18 U.S.C. sec. 249,” the group wrote in a statement. “Doggart intended to not just damage property but to kill innocent men, women and children motivated by his hate for Muslims and Islam.”

And while the charges against Doggart are a step in the right direction, his court-ordered release raises critical questions about how seriously far-right terrorism is taken in this country.

Doggart’s court-ordered release raises critical questions about how seriously far-right terrorism is taken in this country.

Following Doggart’s release, The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement questioning Collier’s decision and the greater safety of Islamberg.

“It is deeply troubling that an individual who has admitted to planning a religiously-motivated terror attack on American Muslims is now free, while the intended targets of his plot remain unprotected,” said Nihad Awad, CAIR’s National Executive Director.

Unfortunately, Doggart is not an anomaly. The New York Times recently highlighted that contrary to mainstream media headlines, right-right terrorism is considered to pose the greatest threat of extremist violence in the United States. In addition, the Washington D.C.-based research organization New America Foundation recently published findings that since September 11, 2001, “nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, anti-government fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.”

Since September 11, 2001, “nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, anti-government fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.”

While there is still work to be done, the DOJ’s indictment of Doggart is a step closer to ensuring that radical, hate-driven far-right ideologues are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Imagine 2050 Newsletter

Translate
  • translate

    English • Afrikaans • العربية • Беларуская • Български • Català • Česky • Cymraeg • Dansk • Deutsch • Eesti • Ελληνικά • Español • فارسی • Français • Gaeilge • Galego • हिन्दी • Hrvatski • Bahasa Indonesia • Íslenska • Italiano • עברית • Latviešu • Lietuvių • 한국어 • Magyar • Македонски • മലയാളം • Malti • Nederlands • 日本語 • Norsk (Bokmål) • Polski • Português • Română • Русский • Slovenčina • Slovenščina • Shqip • Srpski • Suomi • Svenska • Kiswahili • ไทย • Tagalog • Türkçe • Українська • Tiếng Việt • ייִדיש. • 中文 / 漢語