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Christian Plots Firebomb Massacre in New York and Doesn't Get Called Terrorist

17:36Ciaran McCormick

A Christian minister in the United States was arrested after plotting a scary set of attacks against a Muslim community in New York. Robert Doggart planned to use assault rifles, explosives and machetes to unleash horrific crimes. However, the case is notable because he has been treated as a criminal rather than a terrorist. He has not been charged with terror offences or hate crimes, despite his plans being directed towards a religious group. Instead, he faces a pathetic five year sentence after admitting his guilt to prosecutors.


His plans are truly as shocking as any terrorist plot that has broken on national or international news. Doggart had undertaken serious research on the small community of 100 Muslims in Islamberg and had begun to gather weapons. His phones were tapped by the authorities, recording him talking to an accomplice. He said 'those guys should to be killed. Their buildings need to be burnt down. If we can get in there and do that not losing a man, even the better.' In the comments of his that have been reported, he also mentioned the local mosque and school in the enclave as possible places to attack. He was motivated by conspiracy theories that argue the community is a training camp for Islamic terrorism in the United States. Despite these dubious claims, it seems impossible to deny the hate-inspired Islamaphobia that underpin these plans.

However, one of the problems with this story is that it has received a worryingly low level of coverage and has been framed in questionable ways. News coverage has been limited to a handful of articles. If it had been the other way around and a plot by Muslims to kill Christians had been discovered, the repercussions would be overwhelming. He may also have been charged with the more serious offences of terrorism. The crime that he has actually pleaded guilty to is 'interstate communication of threats' involving threats to religious property. No accusations of conspiracy,  hate crime or terrorist offences, just a minor crime that attracts anywhere between zero and five years prison time. He has even been released on bail.


He has not been called a terrorist because he does not fit the overarching narrative of US foreign and domestic policy that the country faces a threat from Islamic terrorism. If it was treated the same, then all Christians would be expected to come out and defend themselves against the stereotypes of their faith. The mass media would blame whole communities of Christians and demand they take responsibility for the attacks and root out radicalisation. Robert Doggard does not fit the expectations and profile of a terrorist though. He ran for Congress for Tennessee in 2014, had a PhD and a respectable career including military service.

This meant that the authorities downplayed the incident both in their sentencing and the treatment of the case. Importantly, a press release was not issued by the Attorney's Office or the FBI, despite the seriousness of the case and the possibility that it ties in with broader militia networks in the US. The media oversight of this story exposes the double standards that exist. White Christians cannot be terrorists because White Christians have defined that to be a terrorist is to be their enemy. Real questions need to be asked of the people in power in politics and the media. The next case of Islamic terrorism does not fuel hatred and Christian terrorism gets talked about seriously.

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