Mosque arsonist: Fox News made me do it!

An Indiana man says he was spurred on by news reports suggesting Muslims were "killing us"

Topics: Southern Poverty Law Center, Fox News, Islam, Ohio, Islamophobia,

Mosque arsonist: Fox News made me do it!
This article was originally published by The Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Southern Poverty Law Center An Indiana man who pleaded guilty yesterday to setting an Ohio mosque on fire told a judge he was motivated by media accounts – specifically those on Fox News – suggesting Muslims were threatening Americans and were in control of parts of the federal government.

Details made public at the plea hearing also revealed that the arsonist, Randolph Linn, was carrying a pistol when he entered the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo on September 30, only minutes after several worshippers had left, and that he had more guns in his car.

Linn, a 52-year-old truck driver from St. Joe, Ind., expressed no remorse when he admitted trying to burn down the third largest mosque in the United States. Under the terms of a plea agreement, prosecutors and Linn’s defense attorney will recommend a prison term of 20 years when he is sentenced early next year.

Accounts of the federal court hearing were provided to Hatewatch by Mahjabeen Islam, president of the mosque, who was present along with 10 other members of the mosque.

When U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary asked Linn about his motivation, he responded that he was spurred on by newspaper, radio and Fox News accounts suggesting Muslims were killing “us” and were in control of the Department of Homeland Security and the White House, Islam recounted.

“When asked if he knew any Muslims or about the Islamic faith, he said he did not; he knew only what he got from Fox News, and he did know that ‘they don’t believe in Jesus Christ as the savior,’” Islam said.

“Randy Linn’s statements clearly incriminate the media,” Islam said. “We call on print, Internet and broadcast media to educate the public about various cultures and religions and promote the strength of diversity, rather than whipping up hatred that leads to such destruction. Fox News, in particular, needs to reset its course and policies very quickly.”

The fire caused an estimated $1 million worth of damages.

“We are grateful that no one was injured or killed when Randy Linn came to the Islamic Center,” Islam said. That kind of tragedy, she said, “was a major possibility” because Linn entered the mosque carrying a gun in his hand and had three other firearms in his car.

“The prospect of Randy Linn finding anyone in the Islamic Center is spine-chilling, and we appeal for attention and action on the easy availability of these deadly weapons,” Islam said.



Court documents say Linn left his Indiana home on Sept. 30 in a red four-door Chevrolet Sonic, stopping at a gas station near Perrysburg, Ohio, to fill three gas cans he had in the vehicle, before driving on to the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. The mosque in Perrysburg is the third largest in the United States, a 70,000-square-foot landmark, visible for miles, with 3,000 members who celebrated the center’s 32nd anniversary in October.

Linn made numerous efforts to enter the Islamic Center before finally gaining entry, walking through several rooms with a pistol in his left hand before exiting and then returning with a gas can, the court documents disclosed. He entered the mosque’s prayer room on the second floor and poured gasoline on the prayer rug used by worshippers during prayer services. Linn then set fire to the rug and fled. His actions were caught on surveillance cameras, and he was arrested a few days later after the photos received media coverage.

Islam said attending the hearing and seeing Linn left her “numb and overcome.”

“At no point during the hearing did Randy Linn reveal any remorse for what he had done,” she said. “He pled guilty to all three counts but took no responsibility.”

Linn pleaded to intentionally defacing, damaging and destroying religious real property because of the religious character of that property; using fire to commit a felony; and using and carrying a firearm to commit a crime of violence.

“His guilty plea, acceptance of a binding plea agreement with no chance for appeal and a prison sentence of 20 years, sends out a clear message to future criminals that our society will not accept hate and violence,” she said.

Islam’s comments were echoed by U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach of the Northern District of Ohio, who said, “Religious freedom is at the core of our country, and we will continue to aggressively prosecute such hate crimes whenever and wherever the evidence warrants. This was a true joint effort to seek justice for these victims.”

Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez said the freedom to worship in the manner of one’s choosing is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans.

“The Department of Justice and the Civil Rights Division will continue to aggressively prosecute hate-based attacks on houses of worship,” Perez said in a statement. “I commend the cooperative efforts of local and federal law enforcement officials to ensure justice in this case.”

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>