Tennessee man who planned attack against Muslim community sentenced to 20 years in prison

A former Congressional candidate from Tennessee Valley has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for plotting to burn down a mosque, a school and a cafeteria in upstate New York.

Robert Doggart, 65, was sentenced on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga, where he was convicted in February of trying to recruit people to commit arson and violate civil rights.

Doggart’s plan was to attack, Islamberg, a community started by a group of African-American Muslims who moved from U.S. cities in the 1970s, is a gated community with dirt roads and several dozen small homes near the town of Hancock in New York’s Catskills Mountains.  The 200 or so members of the community, in which children are home-schooled and residents worship at a mosque built on the 70-acre property, follow a Pakistani Sufi cleric.

Doggart was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents in April 2015 after saying in wiretapped telephone calls that he planned to recruit a militia and travel to Islamberg.

“It’s not just a war with Islam or Islamberg,” explained Saeed Mody, a prosecutor from the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. “It’s a war with the federal government.”

Muslim who says she was fired for refusing flu shot sues Children’s Hospital Boston

February 4, 2014

 

A former Children’s Hospital Boston employee who said she was fired because her Islamic beliefs prohibited her from getting a mandatory flu shot sued the hospital today.

Leontine Robinson says in her complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Boston that her civil rights were violated because the hospital “intentionally discriminated against (her) due to her religious beliefs.” Some Muslims refuse flu shots because they contain a small amount of pork gelatine — a violation, the abstainers contend, of restrictions on consuming pork products.

Robinson, according to her complaint, worked in patient care at Children’s for about a year before a flu shot requirement was instituted in 2006. Hospital managers had known she was a Muslim when they hired her, the suit suggests, noting that she wore a traditional Muslim head-covering for women.

 

Boston Business Journal: http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2014/02/04/muslim-who-says-she-was-fired-for.html

10 Years for Plot to Murder Cartoonist

January 6, 2014

By Jon Hurdle

 

PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge on Monday sentenced a Pennsylvania woman to 10 years in prison for her part in a plan to murder a Swedish cartoonist whose images of the Prophet Muhammad offended Muslims.

The woman, Colleen R. LaRose, who used “Jihad Jane” as an online alias, pleaded guilty to four charges, including conspiring to aid terrorists and to kill a person in a foreign country, after she plotted with jihadists she encountered on the Internet to kill the cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who depicted the prophet atop the body of a dog.

Ms. LaRose, 50, of Pennsburg, Pa., near Philadelphia, went to Europe in 2008 with the intention of killing Mr. Vilks, but failed to meet up with the people who had encouraged the mission. She returned to the United States and was arrested after the plan was discovered.

Judge Petrese B. Tucker of United States District Court said Monday that she was satisfied that Ms. LaRose would have carried out the killing if she had made the right contacts.

The defendant, a slight woman of 4-foot-9 who wore green prison overalls and a black head scarf, made a six-minute statement to the court, admitting that she had been inspired to engage in jihad, or Islamic holy war, after seeing coverage of Palestinians “screaming and crying.”

 

NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/us/jihad-jane-given-10-year-prison-sentence.html

 

Oklahoma anti-Shariah amendment struck down

Sharia-law-Billboard(RNS) A federal judge has struck down Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment that would have prohibited judges in the state from considering Shariah law.

 

The amendment was approved by about 70 percent of Oklahoma voters on November 2, 2010, but the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued to block the amendment, arguing it violated separation of church and state and discriminated against Muslims.

 

A U.S. District Court judge agreed and issued a temporary injunction against the amendment. That decision was upheld in 2011 by a federal appeals court that returned the case to the judge, who made the final ruling Thursday (Aug. 15, 2013).

“It is our hope that, in finding this anti-Islam law unconstitutional, lawmakers in other states will think twice before proposing anti-Muslim laws of their own,” said Gadeir Abbas, a CAIR staff attorney and counsel for the plaintiffs.

 

The amendment struck down Thursday specifically mentioned Shariah, and is different from anti-Shariah laws adopted over the last few years by state legislators in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. North Carolina legislators also passed an anti-foreign-law bill this spring, which is now on the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory, who must decide by August 25 whether to sign or veto it.

 

While these laws do not mention Shariah, but “foreign law,” their backers have stated Shariah was their target. Those laws have not been challenged in court, although Muslim civil rights activists say they may still try.

Ore. Muslim sues FBI, claims torture

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An American Muslim who says he was beaten with batons by prison interrogators while held in solitary confinement overseas for more than three months has sued the FBI and State Department, claiming the torture was done at their behest.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Oregon seeks $30 million and several injunctions against the U.S. government concerning its treatment of citizens overseas.

Yonas Fikre said he was held for 106 days in the United Arab Emirates after refusing to cooperate with Portland, Ore.,-based FBI agents in an interview in Sudan. The State Department has confirmed previously that Fikre was held in Abu Dhabi ‘‘on unspecified charges,’’ but said he was visited by State Department officials and showed no signs of mistreatment.

Two other Oregon Muslims who worship at the mosque have also alleged they were held overseas and were asked to become informants by Portland-based FBI agents. Both men have returned to Oregon.

The mosque has come under scrutiny before. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a Somali American convicted of plotting to set off a bomb in downtown Portland in 2010, occasionally worshipped there. A decade ago, seven Muslims with ties to the mosque were arrested following a failed effort to enter Afghanistan and fight U.S. forces.

 

Bomb Suspect Is Charged and Will Be Tried in Civilian Court

BOSTON — The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing was charged Monday with “using a weapon of mass destruction” that resulted in three deaths, according to documents filed in federal court.

The suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was charged by federal prosectors as he lay in a bed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, officials said.

In a criminal complaint unsealed Monday in United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Mr. Tsarnaev was charged with one count of “using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction” against persons and property within the United States resulting in death, and one count of “malicious destruction of property by means of an explosive device resulting in death.”

If he is convicted, the charges could carry the death penalty.

The charges were announced one week after the 117th Boston Marathon began with a starter’s gun and ended in two deadly bombings, shortly before a statewide moment of silence was planned for 2:50 p.m. to mark the moment a pair of pressure-cooker bombs detonated.

The White House said that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev would not be tried as an enemy combatant. “We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.

Mr. Carney noted that it was illegal to try an American citizen in a military commission, and that a number of high-profile terrorism cases were handled in the civilian court system, including that of the would-be bomber who tried to bring down a passenger jet around Christmas 2009 with explosives in his underwear.

Mr. Carney said the government had gotten “valuable intelligence” from suspects kept in the civilian judicial process. “The system has repeatedly proven it can handle” such cases, he said.

CAIR-Chicago Wins Judgment for Muslim Center’s Freedom of Religion

The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today welcomed the decision by District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer granting summary judgment to the civil rights organization’s client, Irshad Learning Center, an Islamic religious institution primarily serving the Iranian community.

Irshad Learning Center (ILC) applied for a zoning permit to use a former school in unincorporated DuPage County as a mosque and Islamic school. The DuPage County Board denied the permit without explanation in January 2010.

While the Zoning Board of Appeals (the first governmental entity to consider the petition) repeatedly recommended denying the permit, the County Development Committee supported ILC’s petition with various conditions.

CAIR-Chicago filed a lawsuit against the county and members of the board on behalf of ILC on April 8, 2010.

ILC’s complaint alleged violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as well as state constitutional and zoning law.

Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Terrorism Case

A Brooklyn man who pleaded guilty to supporting a terrorist group after he was arrested trying to board a plane to the Middle East to wage jihad was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Tuesday.

The man, Agron Hasbajrami, an Albanian who had been living legally in Brooklyn since 2008, pleaded guilty in April to sending more than $1,000 to a contact in Pakistan to finance terrorist activities before deciding to travel abroad to join a radical Islamist terrorist organization, which was not named in court papers.

As a part of his plea agreement, prosecutors dropped three additional terrorism charges, which could have sent Mr. Hasbajrami, 28, to prison for life. He was sentenced to the maximum 15-year prison term on the single remaining charge.

Judge John Gleeson, who sentenced Mr. Hasbajrami in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, said he would have preferred to send him to prison for even longer.

Man Behind Anti-Islam Video Gets Prison Term

 

LOS ANGELES – A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced the man behind “ Innocence of Muslims,” the anti-Islam YouTube video that ignited bloody protests in the Muslim world, to one year in prison for violating parole.

The man, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who is also known as Mark Basseley Youssef, a name he legally adopted in 2002, appeared in Federal District Court here and pleaded guilty to four charges of violating a probation sentence imposed on him in 2010 after a bank fraud conviction. Each of his guilty pleas, worked out with prosecutors in advance, was related to his maintenance of the two identities.

In turn, the government agreed to drop four more probation violation charges, all of which pertained to Mr. Nakoulaís work on the “ Innocence of Muslims.” Prosecutors had maintained that Mr. Nakoula lied to the police about the extent of his involvement in the project.

In accordance with the sentencing request by Robert Dugdale, the assistant United States attorney who prosecuted the case, Judge Christina A. Snyder ruled that Mr. Nakoula would serve one year in prison followed by four years of probation. She rejected a request for home confinement in lieu of prison from Mr. Nakoulaís lawyer, Steve Seiden, telling Mr. Nakoula that he had already “ struck a deal far more favorable than he might have otherwise suffered.”

Man behind anti-Islam film due in L.A. court next week

(Reuters) – A California man behind an anti-Islam film that stoked violent protests in the Muslim world is due to appear in a federal court in Los Angeles next week for a preliminary hearing on whether he violated the terms of his probation over a 2010 bank fraud conviction, court papers show.

Mark Basseley Youssef, 55, who before went by the name Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is scheduled to go before U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder on Wednesday, the documents filed on Friday in U.S. District Court show.

The terms of Youssef’s 2011 release from prison include a ban on using aliases without the permission of a probation officer.

The Egyptian-born Youssef has been described as the producer of a crudely made 13-minute video filmed in California and circulated online under a number of titles, including “Innocence of Muslims.” It mocked the Prophet Mohammad and sparked a torrent of anti-American unrest in Egypt and other Muslim countries last month.