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Tenn. man indicted for plotting Muslim massacre

Tenn. man indicted for plotting Muslim massacre
© Robert Doggart

A Tennessee man was indicted on Tuesday for a plot to burn down a mosque, school and cafeteria in a small, rural New York town with a large Muslim community.

According to federal charges, 63-year-old former congressional candidate Robert Doggart advertised his plot on Facebook and tried to recruit others to join him in his mission to “cut them to shreds.”

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Despite those allegations, Doggart was released into the custody of two family members last week, which has inflamed some critics who accuse officials of ignoring threats from white supremacists and anti-government extremists.

"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," Nihad Awad, the national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement over the weekend.

Doggart allegedly plotted to recruit militia members to attack the small hamlet of Islamberg, N.Y. — a rural community of Muslims founded about 30 years ago. 

The town “is vulnerable from many approaches and must be utterly destroyed in order to get the attention of the American People,” Doggart allegedly wrote in one Facebook post.

“We shall be Warriors who will inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our Nation and World Peace,” he added in another post, the Justice Department said in a complaint earlier this year. 

In wiretapped conversations with an undercover source, he also allegedly planned to attack the town with an M-4 military-style assault rifle, pistol and a machete. 

“And if it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds,” he allegedly said in a wiretapped phone call in March. 

During a meeting with the source in Nashville, Tenn., he allegedly passed along maps of the area as well as information about gun laws in New York and literature about the hamlet.

He was arrested on April 10, though the incident failed to attract the same amount of attention as other potential terrorist plots, such as a plan to behead the organizer of a "Draw Muhammad" event earlier this year.

As a condition of his release, Doggart was reportedly ordered to seek psychiatric treatment, stay off the Internet and be confined to his home.

On Tuesday, a federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tenn., handed down a one-count indictment charging Doggart with soliciting another person to burn down a mosque. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

In 2014, he ran an unsuccessful campaign as an independent trying to unseat Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), and won just 6 percent of the vote.