Press Releases

CAIR Questions Release of Tenn. Man Who Planned ‘Charleston-Style’ Attack on NY Muslims

 Robert Rankin DoggartMuslim civil rights group calls for stepped up protection for targeted community

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/4/15) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today questioned the release of a Tennessee man who admitted to planning 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.

A federal judge rejected 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.

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.”

SEE: Tennessee Politician Accused in Bomb Plot Against Muslim Hamlet in New York Freed From House Arrest (NY Daily News)

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. He pleaded guilty to interstate communication of threats and was released on bond to home confinement.

A federal magistrate has now allowed the 63-year-old Doggart to go free 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.

SEE: CAIR Says Tenn. Man Who Planned Religiously-Motivated Attack on NY Muslims Should Face Terror Charges

“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.

Yesterday, CAIR urged law enforcement authorities to investigate a phone threat targeting a Paterson, N.J., mosque as a hate crime.

SEE: CAIR Seeks Hate Crime Probe After NJ Mosque Targeted by Phone Threat

Awad noted that CAIR recently called on Houston police and the FBI to investigate a road rage shooting in which the gunman reportedly shouted “go back to Islam” as a possible hate crime and cited the “execution-style” killings of three young Muslims in Chapel Hill, N.C., in February and the bias-motivated killing of a Muslim teen outside a Kansas City mosque.

Video: Texas Muslim Road Rage Victim Dies, Suspect Makes Bail, CAIR Seeks Hate Crime Probe
Video: CAIR Asked Feds to Probe Chapel Hill Killings
CAIR Calls for Federal Probe of 'Intentional' Killing of Muslim Teen Outside Kansas City Mosque

CAIR's Iowa chapter last month called on law enforcement authorities to investigate apparently bias-motivated vandalism of a Muslim-owned house in Cedar Rapids as a hate crime.

SEE: CAIR Seeks Probe of Hate Vandalism Targeting Iowa Muslim's House

Last week, a man was sentenced to six months in jail in connection with a hate crime attack on a Muslim cab driver in Seattle.

CAIR-WA: Six-month sentence in Seattle Hate Crime Attack on Immigrant Cab Driver

The Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization also recently called for an investigation of threats mailed to a number of Phoenix, Ariz., mosques, one of which was later surrounded by armed anti-Islam protesters. Nazi symbols were displayed at that rally.

In another recent case, CAIR called on law enforcement authorities in Baltimore County, Md., to step up protection of a mosque and Islamic school in that county following threats to bomb the school's bus and to spill “Muslim blood.”

Other anti-Muslim incidents include threats to mosques in New Jersey and Ohio, “No Muslims” graffiti spray-painted on the seal of Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, hate vandalism of a Rhode Island Islamic school and threats to murder Massachusetts Muslims.

Muslim community members are being asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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