A security guard called a mosque. What he said could earn him federal prison time

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Grocery store security guard Gerald Wallace caused the people at the Islamic Center of Greater Miami significant insecurity with a Feb. 19 phone message.

Wallace, of Miami, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs.

The indictment quoted the message left at the Miami Gardens mosque by Wallace, who has a concealed weapons permit and a gun: “—- you Muslims, —- Mohammed, —- the Koran and —- lslam. I hate you Muslims, you Muslims are terrible. I hate you people. I’m gonna go down to your center, I’m gonna shoot all ya’ll. —- you, I hate your Allah, I hate your Koran, I hate everything about Islam. You people are worthless s—. Go to hell. —- you.”

In court documents, Wallace’s federal court public defender said the 35-year-old made the phone call after being angered by a local TV news report on terrorism.

As previously reported in the Miami Herald, Wallace admitted to law enforcement agents he felt “absolute hatred” toward Muslims since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C.

“The Florida Muslim community has been facing an unprecedented level of hate crimes,” said Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, Council on American-Islamic Relations-Florida communications director. “Incidents have included various mosques being set on fire, Muslim schools and mosques vandalized, assault and battery on Muslim worshipers, Muslim children bullied at school — among many other hate crimes and hate incidents that have significantly spiraled upwards in the past two years.

“We commend Acting U.S. Attorney (Benjamin) Greenberg for keeping the Department of Justice lines of communication and cooperation open with the Muslim community. The strong message this sends is that Florida has no place for hate crimes against Muslims.”

At his sentencing Jan. 17, Wallace can get up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to a hate crime. Wallace’s only other encounter with a criminal court, for a misdemeanor prostitution solicitation charge, went into pretrial intervention.

miamiherald.com

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