30-year-old Texas man was indicted Friday by a US grand jury for obstructing and threatening Muslim worshippers in his home state, the US Justice Department said.

US prosecutors said Jared Bjarnason threatened in an April 18 e-mail to burn the Islamic Center of El Paso, Texas, to the ground if foreign hostages held in Iraq were not freed within three days.

Bjarnason could face up to 20 years in jail and a 250,000-dollar fine.

Since the September 11, 2001, attacks, US authorities have investigated about 560 incidents of alleged bias-motivated crimes against individuals perceived to be of Middle Eastern origin, the Justice Department said. Criminal charges have been filed in at least 138 of those cases.


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