Editor’s note: After the publication of this article, Robert Doggart was indicted with one count of solicitation to commit a civil rights violation. He faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.
A Muslim cleric devises a terrorist plot to lead a group of nine men to attack Christians in the United States. The plan involves burning down a church and slaughtering Christian worshipers. And these attackers will be well armed with assault rifles, explosives, and even a machete to cut these Christians “to shreds.”
If that Muslim cleric had been arrested shortly before the attack, he would have rightfully been charged with terrorism and held without bail. But when that identical plot is concocted by a Christian minister planning to slaughter Muslims who live in upstate New York, not only is he released on bail and not charged with terrorism, he’s possibly going to walk free.
These are the facts of the case of Robert Doggart, a Christian minster I wrote about in May. Doggart, via an FBI wiretap and conversations with an FBI informant, had revealed his detailed plan to travel from his home in Tennessee to New York state to attack the people of Islamberg, a community of approximately 200 black Muslim Americans near the Pennsylvania border. He viewed this Muslim community, which right-wing media outlets have long demonized, as a threat to America.
As noted by the criminal complaint, Doggart spoke of his willingness to sacrifice his life to prove his “commitment to our God.” He also exalted his followers to be “cruel” to these Muslims, to burn down their mosque, kill them, and even cut them to shreds with a machete.
In preparation for his terrorist attack, Doggart also met with an undercover FBI informant in Nashville, Tennessee. At the meeting, Doggart shared details of how he planned to build the explosives he would use in the assault and even displayed some of his weaponry, including his M-4 military assault rifle.