A Chattanooga, Tennessee, man received 235 months of jail time for soliciting people online to commit a civil rights violation by burning down a mosque, according to the Department of Justice. He was also found guilty of soliciting another person to commit arson.
Robert Doggart, a 65-year-old man from Signal Mountain, a small town outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee, recruited people to join him in burning down the mosque and other buildings in Islamberg, a small Muslim community outside of Hancock, New York.
In addition, he wanted to carry out an armed attack.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation became aware of Doggart from someone that he tried to recruit. The confidential source told federal agents that the man wanted to burn down the mosque with a Molotov cocktail and had gathered weapons and ammunition. After receiving a court order, the FBI tapped Doggart’s phone calls, during which he also discussed these plans.
Doggart chose the mosque as a target because he holds strong anti-Muslim sentiments, details the press release put out by the Justice Department.
“People of all faiths have the fundamental right to worship freely, and this administration will not tolerate attempts to violate that right,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the DOJ’s statement. “The defendant solicited people to commit acts of violence in an effort to terrorize a community simply because of its Islamic faith.”
United States Attorney Nancy Stallard Harr said, “The people of the Eastern District of Tennessee will not tolerate the type of threats and actions perpetrated by Doggart. The United States Attorney’s Office will aggressively prosecute those who seek to disrupt the safety of our community and others.”