Washington (CNN) — A 21-year-old man who admitted posting online threats against the creators of the animated TV series “South Park” was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison.
Zachary Adam Chesser encouraged violent jihadists to attack “South Park” writers for an episode that depicted the Prophet Mohammed in a bear suit, court documents said.
He posted online messages that included the writers’ home addresses and urged online readers to “pay them a visit,” the documents said.
“His actions caused people throughout the country to fear speaking out — even in jest — to avoid being labeled as enemies who deserved to be killed,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said. “The fact that a young man from Northern Virginia could support such violence and terror is a sobering reminder of the serious threat that homegrown jihadists pose to this country.”
Chesser pleaded guilty in October to providing material support to terrorists, communicating threats and soliciting others to threaten violence. The three charges carried a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
“I accept full responsibility for all of my actions, and I would like to take the opportunity to express remorse,” he said in court.
Chesser, who was born in the United States, converted to Islam in high school. U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady told Chesser he had made a big leap from being a high school athlete to a traitor.
Chesser also admitted that he tried to go to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group that the United States considers a terrorist organization.
An Ohio teenager says she ran away from home to Florida because her family threatened to kill her for converting from Islam to Christianity, local media reported.
Rifqa Bary, 17, testified Monday at a custody hearing in Orlando that she’d recently changed religions and is worried her relatives will do something drastic, according to WFTV in Orlando and Central Florida News 13.
“They have to kill me because I’m a Christian. It’s an honor (issue),” the girl told WFTV.
Such threats are common, even in the United States, her attorney, Rosa Gonzalez, told News 13.
“She says her life is in danger and she could be killed in an honor killing,” Gonzalez said after the hearing — which was held because the teenager’s parents are trying to regain custody of her.
Rifqa, a non-citizen whose parents are from Sri Lanka, has for several weeks been staying with an Orlando couple who are pastors of a new Christian church there. She met them on a Facebook prayer group.
Her father denied his daughter’s allegations to NBC 4 in Orlando, saying he never threatened to kill his daughter because she rejected Islam.
He was in Florida for a court hearing, but was reportedly traveling back to Ohio Tuesday.
The Florida Department of Children and Families currently has custody of her, but ultimately, Ohio authorities will decide where the teen should live.
Thanks to J.T. Hundley for this one.
Good thing these religious nuts let people have faith in god, of their own volition and not forced belief, right?
At Mikey Weinstein’s home in the suburbs of Albuquerque, the picture window in the living room has been twice shot out. Sometimes Weinstein opens his front door to find dead animals on his porch, feces smeared on his walls, or slashes in his tires. Men have called to threaten his daughter, women to chant rhymes about shooting him in the head, small children to inform him that he will burn in hell. To his critics, he says, “Take a number, pack a picnic lunch, and stand in line.” He’s not going anywhere, and neither is his 5’6″ ex-Marine security guard, Shorty.
Weinstein is the middle rung in three generations of soldiers. A former Air Force JAG and White House attorney for Ronald Reagan, he has adopted a shock-and-awe approach to battling efforts by the military to impress Christianity upon American soldiers. “We have the Christian Taliban and the Christian Al Qaeda inside our military,” says Weinstein, the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, “and they really have WMD, unlike Saddam.”
An amateur pugilist with shoulders like a butcher block and a head like a cannonball, he several times challenged evangelical minister Ted Haggard to a boxing match. (Haggard declined.) His adversaries call him, to his great delight, “The Field General of the Godless Armies of Satan,” though his friends prefer nicknames like “Ticktock” and “Motor Mouth.” During one of his trademark rapid-fire, profanity-laced diatribes, he proclaimed, “Our job here is to kick ass, take names, and leave sucking chest wounds on the people who are trying to engage the machinery of the state to push their biblical worldview.” To allies who suggest that perhaps Weinstein should appoint someone more diplomatic to lead the foundation, he offers, “First they will have to prove to me that what we are engaged in is a polite exchange of views” with right-wing Christians, “instead of a bloody battle that only ends with the last person standing.”