Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Minnesota Man Who Sent Threatening Letter to Islamic Center Sentenced to 12 Months In Prison

The Justice Department announced that Daniel George Fisher, 57, of Minneapolis, Minnesota was sentenced today in the District of Minnesota to 12 months in prison and three years of supervised release for mailing a letter in which he threatened to blow up an Islamic Center.

On Nov. 30, 2016, Fisher pleaded guilty to violating 18 U.S.C. § 247, for obstructing, by threat of force, the free exercise of religious beliefs.  According to his guilty plea, in September 2015, Fisher wrote and mailed an anonymous letter to the Tawfiq Islamic Center (TIC), located in Minneapolis, and threatened to “blow up your building with all you immigrants in it.”  The letter also included slurs and disparaging statements, evincing the Defendant’s strong anti-Muslim animus.

Fisher told investigators that he had been increasingly angry with Muslims since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and DC.  Fisher admitted that he sent the letter to scare and intimidate the TIC's members so they would stop building the Center in his former neighborhood.

“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.”

“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 U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger of the District of Minnesota. “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 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.”

The FBI’s Minneapolis Division investigated the matter.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Munoz-Kaphing of the District of Minnesota and Trial Attorney Olimpia Michel of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Hate Crimes
Press Release Number: 
17-255
Updated March 16, 2017