The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, on Saturday questioned the release of a Signal Mountain man who admitted to planning what it called "a Charleston-style terror attack" on a Muslim community in New York.
CAIR also called for stepped up protection for the community targeted in the plot. Judge Curtis Collier of Chattanooga has not yet approved a plea agreement reached between prosecutors and attorneys for Robert Rankin Doggart, an ordained minister of the Christian National Church, who admitted to plotting a massacre at a Muslim school and mosque in Hancock, N.Y., in collaboration with members of a South Carolina militia. Judge Collier asked attorneys to submit evidence that the former District 4 Congressional candidate was involved in "a true threat."
Doggart, 63, was recorded on a wiretapped phone call planning to burn down a mosque and Muslim school, while shooting anyone who tried to stop the attackers. "Our small group will soon be faced with the fight of our lives. We will offer those lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God," Doggart wrote in a Facebook post.
"We shall be warriors who will inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our nation and world peace." "When we meet in this state, the people we seek will know who we are," Doggart said in a recorded phone call. "We will be cruel to them, and we will burn down their buildings. If anyone attempts to harm us in any way, our stand gunner will take them down from 350 yards away. The standoff gunner would be me."
Doggart was arrested April 10 and charged with soliciting others to violate civil rights, attempts to damage religious property because of the religious character of the property and making threats through interstate communication.
A plea deal was worked out on a charge of interstate communication of threats, but the judge has not accepted it.
Federal Magistrate Susan K. Lee at first ordered that Doggart remain in jail pending the outcome of the case. Later, she said he could be on house arrest until the case is resolved.
In May, CAIR called on the Obama administration to treat Doggart's planned religiously-motivated attack as an act of domestic terrorism.
"It is deeply troubling that an individual who has admitted to planning a religiously-motivated terror attack on American Muslims is now free, while the intended targets of his plot remain unprotected," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We urge authorities to place Mr. Doggart in custody until this case is resolved, and failing that, to offer protection to his intended targets."
He said the case is another indicator of the rise in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide.