SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Dec. 29 (UPI) — A man pleaded guilty Tuesday, as part of a plea agreement, on federal criminal charges for defacing a Missouri Islamic center and burning two copies of the Qur’an nearly five years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Adam David Smock waived his right to a grand jury investigation and entered the plea, officials said, which stems from a pair of incidents at the Islamic Center in Springfield, Mo.
Justice officials said Smock and two others spray-painted graffiti on the center in January 2011 that contained hateful messages, including “Now is our time!” and “Bash back.” One of his accomplices was a 14-year-old minor, investigators said.
In a news release Tuesday, the Justice Department said Smock, 23, led a conspiracy “to oppress, threaten and intimidate worshippers at the Islamic Center of Springfield in the free exercise and enjoyment of their constitutional right to the free exercise of their religious beliefs.”
About three months after the first vandalism, Smock said he and the same two accomplices partially burned two copies of the Qur’an, the holy book of the Muslim faith, and placed them near the entrance to the Islamic Center. The books were accompanied by a printed note taunting Muslims.
“Today, we show the Muslim Nation that its oppressive religion won’t go without a fight, not from soldiers, but from average citizens willing to fight for America,” the note read. “We grow tired of Anti-Zionism. The Islamification of Europe. Terroristic regimes.
“We vow one thing: Islam will not survive. Death to Islam!”
The vandalism caused more than $15,000 in damages to the Springfield Islamic Center. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was involved in Smock’s prosecution.
Smock, who now lives in California, may be jailed for a short period of time if the judge complies with prosecutors’ recommendation.
“Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, a joint recommendation will be made to the court that Smock be incarcerated for 14 days, followed by a five-year term of supervised release,” the DOJ said in the news release.
Prosecutors are also asking that Smock pay $10,440 in restitution and perform 40 hours of community service — preferably at the Islamic Center.
“If the Islamic Center of Springfield, or an Islamic Center located near Smock’s residence, is willing to have him perform his community service on its premises, then that is the location where Smock should perform his community service,” the DOJ said. “Smock will meet with and personally apologize to the leadership of the Islamic Center of Springfield for his crime.”