An Indiana man who pleaded guilty to setting fire to a mosque in Ohio told the judge that, prior to the arson, he had been “riled up” watching Fox News.
On Sept. 30, Randolph Linn of St. Joseph, Ind., tried to burn down the Islamic Centerof Greater Toledo, The Plain Dealer previously reported. It was reported that he attempted to burn down the mosque in retaliation for attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East and for Muslims getting a “free pass” in the U.S. While being booked in jail, Linn reportedly said, “F**k those Muslims.”
In court on Wednesday, Linn plead guilty to the arson charge. He said that he had gotten “riled up” watching Fox News, according to the Sentinel-Tribune, and drank 45 beers in seven hours before heading to the mosque. Linn started a fire in the prayer room, northwestohio.com reported.
“Every day you turn on the TV, you see Muslims trying to kill Americans,” he said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. When asked whether he thinks all Muslims are terrorists, Linn reportedly responded, “I’d say most of them are.”
Linn’s viewpoints upset some in attendance at the court hearing on Wednesday.
“And I was more sad when Judge [Jack] Zouhary asked him that, ‘Do you know any Muslims or do you know what Islam is?’” a member of the mosque told WNWO after the hearing. “And he said, ‘No, I only know what I hear on Fox News and what I hear on radio.’”
Linn plead guilty to intentionally defacing, damaging and destroying religious real property because of the religious character of that property; using fire to commit a felony; and using and carrying a firearm to commit a crime of violence, the Albany Tribune reported. He likely faces 20 years in prison.
“The freedom to worship in the manner of one’s choosing is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division told the Albany Tribune. “The Department of Justice and the Civil Rights Division will continue to aggressively prosecute hate-based attacks on houses of worship. I commend the cooperative efforts of local and federal law enforcement officials to ensure justice in this case.”