United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the sentencing of DANIEL GEORGE FISHER, 57, to 12 months in prison for threatening to blow up the Tawfiq Islamic Center in Minneapolis. FISHER pleaded guilty on November 30, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright in Saint Paul, Minn.
“My Office takes very seriously any threat of violence against an individual or their place of worship based on race, religion or cultural practices,” said United States Attorney Andrew Luger. “We will continue to work closely with the FBI to prosecute these types of crimes, which threaten religious freedoms and violate fundamental civil rights.”
“The free exercise of one’s religious beliefs is a fundamental tenet of our Democracy,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler. “This sentence sends a message that anyone who threatens others with violence because of religious intolerance will face significant consequences.”
“The sentence handed down today committing the defendant to federal prison reflects the severity of his appalling hate crime,” said Special Agent in Charge Richard T. Thornton of the FBI’s Minneapolis Division. “The FBI will continue to prioritize, investigate, and bring to justice those who commit federal hate crimes and other civil rights violations.”
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, on September 30, 2015, the Tawfiq Islamic Center received an anonymous handwritten letter, which threatened to “blow up your building with all you immigrants in it.” The letter also included profanities, racial and ethnic slurs, and other derogatory commentary about the religious and cultural practices of the members of the Tawfiq Islamic Center.
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, FBI Special Agents interviewed FISHER on June 14, 2016. FISHER reported that he was angry that the Tawfiq Islamic Center selected Minnehaha Avenue for its new location and he wanted the Center to build somewhere else. FISHER further reported that he had become “increasingly angry with Muslims since 9/11.” FISHER confessed to writing the letter and mailing it to Tawfiq Islamic Center with the intent to threaten and scare members of the Tawfiq Islamic Center.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI.
Assistant United States Attorney Angela Munoz-Kaphing and Trial Attorney Olimpia Michel of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section prosecuted the case.
DANIEL GEORGE FISHER, 57
No known address
· Obstruction of Persons in the Free Exercise of Religious Beliefs, 1 count
· 12 months in prison
· Supervised release term of three years
· Six months of community confinement