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Minneapolis man admits threatening to blow up mosque

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Minneapolis man accused of threatening to blow up a local Islamic center in a letter last year pleaded guilty Wednesday. Daniel George Fisher, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs,...

MINNEAPOLIS -- A Minneapolis man accused of threatening to blow up a local Islamic center in a letter last year pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Daniel George Fisher, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs, according to a news release issued by the U.S. attorney’s office.

“Threatening to blow up a mosque is simply un-American,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said in the release. “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.”

Fisher admitted to writing and sending an anonymous letter to the Tawfiq Islamic Center in Minneapolis in September 2015, threatening to “blow up your building with all you immigrants in it,” court documents say.

Fisher said he was angry that the Islamic center, which serves the local Oromo Muslim community, was planning to build a new mosque three blocks from his home, according to charges filed against him in October.

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The threats were traced back to Fisher using fingerprints found on the letter, and he admitted to FBI investigators that he mailed it in hopes of scaring the group into locating the new mosque elsewhere, charges say.

“America protects the free exercise of religion for all people in every community,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in the news release. “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.”

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