Daniel George Fisher, 57, of Minneapolis, plead guilty Wednesday to a federal hate crime for writing and mailing a threatening letter to an Islamic Center, according to officials.
Fisher was charged with obstructing, by threat of force, the free exercise of religious beliefs.
Fisher faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, officials said.
According to his guilty plea, in September 2015, Fisher wrote and mailed an anonymous letter to the Tawfiq Islamic Center in Minneapolis.
In the letter, the defendant threatened to “blow up your building with all you immigrants in it.”
The letter also included statements demonstrating strong anti-Muslim animus. Fisher subsequently admitted to the FBI that he wrote the letter to scare and intimidate the Islamic Center’s Muslim members.
“America protects the free exercise of religion for all people in every community,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “Threats of violence that target religious communities violate federal law; corrode the ideals of our democracy; and threaten the foundation of an inclusive, free and open society. The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute hate crimes that target people because of where they worship.”
“Threatening to blow up a mosque is simply un-American,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger. “It is a bedrock principle of our country, enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution, that all people are free to practice their religion of choice. Tens of thousands of law-abiding Muslims do so in Minnesota. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI will not allow any resident of our state to have that most basic freedom jeopardized by the threat of violence.”
“Today’s guilty plea affirms that hate crimes directed at our communities based on their religion will not be tolerated,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Thornton of Minnesota. “We will continue to aggressively investigate and bring to justice those who threaten violence against our citizens who choose to exercise their religious freedom as protected by our Constitution.”