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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Former Springfield, Missouri, Man Pleads Guilty to Defacing Islamic Center and Burning the Qur'an

U.S. Tammy Dickinson of the Western District of Missouri announced that a former Springfield, Missouri, man pleaded guilty in federal court today to violating the civil rights of others by leading a conspiracy to deface The Islamic Center of Springfield with graffiti and burn two copies of the Qur’an.

Adam David Smock, 23, of Edgewater, California, formerly of Springfield, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush of the Western District of Missouri to a federal information that charges him with participating in a conspiracy to oppress, threaten and intimidate worshippers at the Islamic Center of Springfield in the free exercise and enjoyment of their constitutional right to the free exercise of their religious beliefs.

The Islamic Center of Springfield provides services common to most religious establishments, including regular prayer service, a venue for individuals to pray on their own, community activities and a forum for charitable fund-raising.

Smock admitted that on Jan. 7, 2011, he and two other individuals (one of whom was a 14-year-old minor) spray-painted graffiti on the exterior walls of the Islamic Center of Springfield.  The graffiti included explicit and offensive language in addition to such statements as “Bash Back,” “Now is our time!” and “You bash us in Pakistan we bash here.”

Smock also admitted that on April 10, 2011, he and the same two individuals partially burned two copies of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book, and Smock left the burned Qur’ans directly in front of the main doors to the Islamic Center, approximately 30 feet away from the building, where a co-conspirator also left a computer-printed note that contained the image of a goat’s or ram’s head, and the following text:

“To: Sincere Followers of Allah,

“Today, we show the Muslim Nation that its oppressive religion won't go without a fight, not from soldiers, but from average citizens willing to fight for America – for there are three (sic) burned Qur'ans that lay spread in the driveway. For we grow tired of Anti-Zionism. The Islamification of Europe. Terroristic regimes. And worst of all, the membership of 1.5 billion Muslims that stain the earth. And we vow one thing: Islam will not survive.

“Death to Islam!”

Smock admitted that it was his idea to commit the acts and that he persuaded his co-conspirators to participate, and that he selected the Islamic Center of Springfield for vandalism because of the religious nature of the property in order to threaten and intimidate worshippers so as to hinder and interfere with the worshippers’ enjoyment of their constitutional right to the free exercise of religion.

The total cost of restoration and repair of the damage to the Islamic Center of Springfield, including sandblasting and applying anti-graffiti paint, is $15,662.

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, a joint recommendation will be made to the court that Smock be incarcerated for 14 days, followed by a five-year term of supervised release; that Smock must pay $10,440 in restitution; and that Smock must perform 40 hours of community service.  If the Islamic Center of Springfield, or an Islamic Center located near Smock’s residence, is willing to have him perform his community service on its premises, then that is the location where Smock should perform his community service.  Smock will meet with and personally apologize to the leadership of the Islamic Center of Springfield for his crime.  A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert of the Western District of Missouri.  It was investigated by the FBI and the Springfield Police Department.

Civil Rights
Updated August 23, 2016