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Doggart- the Tennessee Terrorist

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By Khalil Meeks

Federal law enforcement agents caught a real terrorist. He was plotting to attack a small town in New York, burn its buildings and kill its residents. The terrorist was planning to bring like-minded militants and various weapons to help him kill as many people as he could.

“If it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds.”

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No informant provided the plot or tried to convince him to commit these crimes. This would-be massacre was the sole creation of this real-life terrorist.

Federal prosecutors secured a plea deal on April 24. The defendant in this case admitted to “threatening an armed attack and firebombing of a New York… community.” A victory for the F.B.I. Yet, the agency did not issue a press release or hold a press conference touting this latest win in their war on terror. No well-orchestrated media circus followed this plea deal.

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In fact, federal prosecutors were only seeking charges related to violating “civil rights laws, specifically a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 247(a)(1), intentionally defacing, damaging, or destroying any religious real property, because of the religious character of that property, or attempting to do so” and threatening to kidnap or injure others.

This individual, who was planning to attack with a small army and kill innocent people, was not charged with any terrorism related crimes. None.

His name? Robert Doggart.

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His target? Approximately 200 Muslim residents in Islamberg, NY.

Doggart is an ordained Christian minister. He is a Navy veteran. He is an engineer with a Ph.D in engineering management from LaSalle University. He is white, Protestant and a Tennessee native. He ran for Congress in 2014 and received 9,200 votes. He referenced his faith as justification for his crimes.

I do not mention these facts to shed a negative light on Christianity, veterans, engineers, LaSalle graduates, whites, Tennesseans or congressional candidates. None of these characteristics are relevant to this individual’s crimes. I mention these facts to highlight the vast differences in how Muslims and non-Muslims are treated by federal law enforcement and the media.

If Doggart was a Muslim, does anyone doubt the news media would be whipped into a panic-filled frenzy over the F.B.I.’s latest terror arrest? Does anyone doubt that the F.B.I. would pursue terrorism-related criminal charges? Does anyone doubt that the F.B.I. would be calling this their latest victory in their war on terror?

When the F.B.I. accuses a Muslim of committing a crime, terrorism charges are often thrown in his or her face. In fact, federal law enforcement spokespersons often describe Muslim defendants as terrorists even when no terrorism charges are involved in the case. This was true for Aafia Siddiqui, Ibrahim Dremali, Rafil Dhafir and others.

Adding a terrorism label to a criminal cases also increases the prison terms. It’s called “terrorism enhancement sentencing guidelines” and can more than double the time a defendant spends in prison. These guidelines seem to have been written just for Muslims.

This comes as no surprise. The federal law enforcement agents received training from anti-Muslim extremists who teach them to view Muslims as violent and radical. Not just some Muslims… all Muslims.

The Doggart case just affirms what we’ve observed for more than a decade. Muslims are treated differently in the American justice system. The “terrorism” label is often thrown at Muslims in an apparent attempt to increase the chances for convictions – and it seems to be working. Terrorism is scary and no one wants to let a terrorist go free. But when these labels are reserved for a special classification of people (i.e., Muslims), then a separate and unequal system of justice is created.

And that’s a system of injustice.

Doggart is currently out of jail on a $30,000 bond as he waits for a judge to sign the plea deal. If signed, Doggart faces up to five years in prison for planning to massacre 200 Muslims… men, women and children.

Five years… not 65, 86 or life in prison. Just five years.

Hopefully, this case highlights the need to defend Muslims against injustice in the American court system. Hopefully, this case sheds additional light on the problems Muslims face when caught up in the controversial, biased and unfair targeting and discrimination against Muslims by law enforcement and the courts. Hopefully, this case serves as an example of how important it is for Muslims and all supporters of equality and freedom to “stand out firmly for justice” because this is not the only “if he were Muslim he would have been called a terrorist” case in America.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=362&v=5Rxt_xQ4OGM[/youtube]

Khalil Meeks is the Executive Director of Muslim Legal Fund of America —a national charity that funds legal work and programs to defend Muslims against injustice in American courtrooms, prisons and communities. Established in 2001, MLFA has defended freedom of speech, association, and religion as well as the right to a fair trial and other constitutional rights.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Peter Hall

    May 29, 2015 at 10:31 PM

    Hi

    Well what you say is right, in that the US Government should go harder on this American, caught planning to kill 200 Muslims.

    Yet the Islamic cleric, who inspired and planned the bali bombings that actually did kill over 202 people, how long did he spend in prison?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Bakar_Bashir

    Less than 2.5 years in prison, and he had many priors, so before you are critical of the West, you should hold your own household to account, otherwise you are just being a hypocrite.

    Can you tell me how many Muslims massacres, by American extremists have taken place in the USA in the last 100 years?

    The answer is zero,

    How many Americans have been massacred by Muslim extremists in the last 100 years, in Muslim countries?

    They number in their tens of 1000s.

    So the danger here, is the utter failure of muslim Governments to stop the slaughter of non muslims. Not what you claim, which has no basis in fact. Actually you are a hypocrite, and trying to turn Muslims into perpetual victims.

    So your cries of the need to protect Americans Muslims is just deceitful, scare mongery and grand standing, you should be ashamed. Muslims are safer in the USA than in nearly every Muslim majority country in the world.

    • Ismail

      May 30, 2015 at 1:32 AM

      I like how you start all you comments with, “Well, what you say is right”, then go on a self-contradictory tirade. You right-wingers are all blind in one eye.

    • afzal aslam

      May 30, 2015 at 11:58 PM

      @peter hall your comments are irrelevant to the post we are Americans and talking about our justice system and freedom of religion given to us by constitution. we don’t care what other countries do or don’t we live in a free country where no matter who you are means any religion race or color should be treated the same, first of all take racism out of your mind and do some research your research seems to me is from the bias media and propaganda of anti islam forces, it will definitely help you think straight. And I am sorry didn’t wanted to be mean but I am tired of this racist and hateful uneducated negative comments, first of meet some Muslims see what they practice and the hardship they face, and learn about islam and then we see how right you are and how wrong we are .

      • Keith

        May 31, 2015 at 9:11 AM

        Why don’t you care what happens in other countries? Surely if you live a safe and happy life in the US the fact that people are being killed in the name of your religion in countries that are dominated by your religion and the leaders of those countries are not taking a hard line against the perpetrators should be of concern to you, as it would be to me.
        You rightfully, as a minority, expect to be treated with respect, tolerance and equality in the country you live in so why is it no concern of yours if other countries treat minorities in a manner that you would find repulsive if you were treated that way in the US?

    • Taqwa

      May 31, 2015 at 5:12 AM

      Ah so you’re one of those people who spread around to simpletons this gem of a fallacy: “Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslim”…

      • AMK

        June 1, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        @Keith While I care about how Governments outside USA treat minorities – and it’s absolutely unacceptable for any human being regardless of religion to be treated with injustice and inequality – as US citizens our first concern is at home and making sure our justice system stays as the best in the world – we don’t want to ruin it by getting influenced on who is doing what outside USA – world history is full of nut cases from all faiths and religions. And Yes there are barbaric acts being committed in the name of the Muslim religion that does not mean I will start acting and behaving like one and nor should anyone else.

        We are where we are because we have equality, justice, peace for all and freedom of religion. As the balance of these items starts to waiver – it never ever results in happy healthy and prosperous nation, culture, society , country ….

    • Chey Impunity

      September 19, 2015 at 5:07 AM

      Okay let us start with the first question, as of to date there has been: three Muslim students killed over a “parking space”, a Muslim man beaten and stabbed while having anti-Islam banter screamed at him, a Muslim child has been arrested for bringing a clock to school, two boys planned the bombing of a mosque in Chicago, a mosque vandalized in st.paul Minnesota, in Kansas a Muslim teen murdered in hit and run attack, in Ohio a mosque was set on fire, not including the mosque burned to the ground in California, Oklahoma, and Missouri, a home attack in Florida, let me also leave out all the hate comments and messages (bullying. death threats) that not only wish death to the people of Islam but also promotes the violent crimes happening to us. Let me also mention the most recent anti-islam speech in presidential debates….
      The fact of the matter is this, due to people on the complete other side of world acting like idiots, Muslims in America, France, Syria, and else where that are trying to do something good and just be peaceful are being brutally attacked and killed.As Muslims it is our job to teach the truth of Islam it also our job to report on and voice concern about the crimes committed against our brothers and sisters. Before you leave a comment about Muslims playing victim, do some research.

  2. Kashif

    June 1, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    Like it or not, US is the dominant world super power. It dictates pretty much every single country in the world to be compliant. It is able to help the innocent people of Burma (Muslims) but it is allowing them to be massacred. It acts like it is unable to do anything but that wouldn’t be the case if it was one of their own kind. If I was US and they handed down 2.5 years sentence to a confirmed terrorist, I would turn Indonesia upside down until they max the sentence. The small sentence is either an innocent person framed as terrorist or a confirmed terrorist being used to make Islam look bad so crimes against Muslims can be justified elsewhere. The super power has the ability to enforce either option twisting things around. It’s easy. Being a super power and just; that’s hard and Islam demonstrated that to the world during Prophet Muhammad’s time and the three succeeding generations. Powers change hands by God’s will and US is doing a very very bad job; going down in history. If Muslims want power then they must prove to Allah that they are capable, just, and will give people the rights back and stop every kind of injustice regardless of race, color, or nationality as they once did in the past. Let us re-create the Age of Enlightenment of Muslim Spain without the mistakes made during that era. Amazing things will happen!

  3. Dyyf

    June 6, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    A terrorism law charge isn’t appropriate here. If you look through the list of attempted terrorism you see the longest sentences are for people who either carried out the act (Doggert didn’t even get to initial planning stages and resource acquirement) and they were either trained by Al Qeada, got support from Al Qaeda or provided support for Al Qaeda. A terrorist group which has EXPLICITLY STATED that it is at war with American.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsuccessful_terrorist_plots_in_the_United_States_post-9/11

    I do believe that Doggert should NOT have gotten released with bail. The judge should have locked into a mental health institution. He’s a nut and a lone wolf.

  4. Christy

    July 8, 2015 at 8:22 PM

    7/8/15 Update:
    A federal grand jury indicted a Tennessee man Tuesday on charges stemming from his alleged plot carry out a coordinated attack on Muslims in Islamberg, New York.

    Robert Rankin Doggart, 63, had already been jailed on a separate set of charges related to the alleged plot. He made national headlines earlier this week after he was released from jail and put into house arrest pending the disposition of that case. Doggart now faces up to 10 years in prison.

    So how many mosques did he burn down? How many Muslim people were injured or killed?

    I checked his ministry credentials. He bought them online from an online-only “church” called the National Christian Church. He is a bogus minister with bogus credentials bought online from a bogus ‘church’. Do muslims also know who Satan is and how he operates? This guy is an example of that.

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