CAIRO – Threats by a former congressional candidate to blow up a Muslim community in New York have been extended to South Carolina’s Holy Islamville, where hundreds of Muslims expressed concerns about their safety.
“We are worried that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we want to make sure we are safe,” Ali Rashid, an elder at Holy Islamville and one of its founders, told the Herald Online on Saturday, May 16.
Rashid echoed worries of residents in Islamville, a Muslim community outside New York, after court documents showed that a similar Muslim community, Islamberg, was a target of Robert R. Doggart of Tennessee.
Last March, the 63-year-old Islamophobic Doggart pleaded guilty to charges of threatening the destruction of a mosque, school, and Muslim homes in New York’s Islamberg.
The man, who is on house arrest awaiting sentencing, also admitted posting Facebook messages saying: “Islamberg must be destroyed,” according to his plea agreement. Moreover, Doggerts arranged a meeting with members of an unnamed “militia” in Greenville to get guns, bombs to attack Muslims.
The most serious confession of Doggart was taking “a small military installation,” and getting out of rural Islamberg, documents showed.
According to an FBI tapped phone call, an unnamed South Carolina militia member told Doggart that an attack would, “make them think twice about, um, which town, which country, and who the hell they’re messing with.”
“This guy was planning an attack on a place just like Holy Islamville,” said Rashid. Concerns of Islamberg residents were echoed by York’s Muslims community of Islamville who are related.
“This hits really close to home,” Holy Islamville Mayor Ramadan Sayeed Shakir said.
“This person wanted to harm my family, my wife’s family. Many people here in York have ties to those in New York at Islamberg who could have been hurt or killed if this man had carried this out.”
Amid growing threats, residents of Holy Islamville are set to meet with federal, state and local law enforcement officials on Monday, May 18, to address the issue. “With all that could have happened in New York, and the connection of this man to South Carolina,” Shakir said.
“We have every reason and right to want to make sure our families are safe.”
Islamville Muslims are meeting with police to report suspicious activities as well. “We are Americans who love this country, just as the people of Islamberg do,” Rashid said.
“We want to make sure that we are not targeted.” Despite his confessions of targeting Muslims, Doggart was not charged with any terrorism-related crimes.
Expressing dismay over not convicting Doggart, Muslims of America called for protecting residents of Holy Islamville and Islamberg. “Doggart is an example of the results of unchecked and rampant Islamophobia, which has spread lies for years about our peaceful community,” said Muhammad Matthew Gardner, a Muslims of America spokesman.
“This man plotted to mercilessly kill us, kill our children, and blow up our mosque and our school. We have sound reason to believe he has already visited our other locations around the US. What other murderous plans do he and his private militia have, and where are his accomplices?”