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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Minneapolis Man Pleads Guilty To Hate Crime For Mailing Threatening Letter To Islamic Center

DANIEL GEORGE FISHER, 57, pleaded guilty today to a federal hate crime for writing and mailing a threatening letter to an Islamic Center. FISHER was charged with one count of obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs.

The plea was announced by United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger; Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division; and Special Agent in Charge Richard T. Thornton of the FBI’s Minneapolis Division.

"Threatening to blow up a mosque is simply un-American," said U.S. Attorney Luger. "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. The U.S. Attorney's Office and FBI will not allow any resident of our state to have that most basic freedom jeopardized by the threat of violence."

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

“Today’s guilty plea affirms that hate crimes directed at our communities based on their religion will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Thornton. “We will continue to aggressively investigate and bring to justice those who threaten violence against our citizens who choose to exercise their religious freedom as protected by our Constitution.”

According to the defendant’s guilty plea, 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, 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.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Munoz-Kaphing and Trial Attorney Olimpia Michel of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.

 

Defendant Information:

DANIEL GEORGE FISHER, 57

No known address

Convicted:

  • Obstruction of Persons in the Free Exercise of Religious Beliefs, 1 count

 

 

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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

Updated November 30, 2016