ADC Thanks US DOJ for Quick Action in Tennessee Mosque Hate Crime Indictments; Urges Action on 1985 Odeh Terror Attack
Washington, DC | March 27, 2008 | www.adc.org | The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) today thanked the US Department of Justice (US DOJ), the Civil Rights Division, the FBI, the US Attorney‘s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, for their quick and efficient apprehension and indictments in the February 2008 attack on the Islamic Center in Columbia, Tennessee. Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced the indictments against three white supremacist members of, “The Aryan Alliance,” alleged to have committed federal hate crimes by burning the Mosque and spray painting “White Power” on the building‘s exterior (See Department of Justice Press Release below).
ADC also called on the US DOJ, including the FBI, to redouble its efforts in the nearly 23 year-old investigation of the October 11, 1985, terrorist attack that murdered Alex Odeh; ADC’s Southern California Regional Director. Odeh was killed when a powerful pipe bomb exploded as he unlocked and opened the door of the ADC Regional Office in California.
In addition to killing Odeh, the bomb injured several other victims. According to press reports, the FBI has identified members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL) as suspects in this act of domestic terrorism. Some media reports have indicated the presence of these suspects overseas yet to date there are no indications that the US Department of State has played its role to assist the FBI in its investigation.
The 22-year old FBI investigation into Alex‘s murder remains open, and there is currently a $1-Million FBI reward for information leading to conviction. To date, no arrests have been made and the case remains unresolved. For more information see: http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/seekinfo/odeh.htm
ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said, “This week‘s indictments demonstrate the outstanding work of the Department of Justice, including the FBI, in successfully protecting our community from these types of hate crimes,” Shora continued, “Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the Government‘s failure in apprehending the suspects behind the 1985 Alex Odeh terrorist attack. This is an opportunity for all US Government agencies, including the Department of State, to cooperate with the FBI so that justice is served.”
US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PRESS RELEASE:
Three Men Indicted for Federal Civil Rights Violations in Arson of Islamic Center in Tennessee
WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury in Nashville returned a five-count indictment today charging three men for their role in the arson of the Islamic Center in Columbia, Tenn., on Feb. 9, 2008, the Justice Department announced. Eric Ian Baker, Jonathan Edward Stone and Michael Corey Golden were charged with a conspiracy to violate civil rights, destroying a house of worship, possession of a destructive device, use of fire to destroy a building and use of fire to commit a felony.
The indictment alleges that between Feb. 2, 2008, and Feb. 9, 2008, Baker, Stone and Golden, all of whom are said to be members of a white supremacist group known as the “The Aryan Alliance,” conspired with one another to burn a mosque known as the Islamic Center in Columbia, Tenn. The indictment further alleges that during the early morning hours of Feb. 9, 2008, Baker drove Golden and Stone to a convenience store in Columbia where they made Molotov cocktails filled with gasoline. According to the indictment, Golden and Stone later hurled the Molotov cocktails into the Islamic Center setting the building on fire while Baker spray painted phrases, which included “White Power,” onto the exterior of the mosque.
The case was investigated by the Columbia, Tenn., Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal McDonough and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Jonathan Skrmetti.
An indictment is only an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.