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Trump supporter to spend 90 days in jail over plot to bomb Muslims

29th Apr 2016

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Donald Trump supporter charged with possessing an explosive device and threatening to kill Muslims will spend just 90 days in jail and serve three years probation after accepting a plea deal with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

William Celli, 55,  from California, pleaded guilty to a charge that he attempted to violate the free exercise of civil rights.

In exchange for his guilty plea the has dropped a charge of making criminal threats as a hate crime.

Celli was arrested on December 20, 2015, days after he yelled “I’m going to kill you all!” outside the Islamic Society of West Contra Costa County.

Abdur Rahman, a member of the mosque for 19 years who was present at the time, said Celli was screaming: “I’m going to kill you all” from a Burger King parking lot across the street. Rahman said that Celli “didn’t look like a crazy person”, but “was a little agitated and taking video of the congregants”.

Celli continued “ranting and cussing” for about 10 minutes, Rahman said, before leaving and telling another congregant “I will come back”. Police arrived at the mosque about three hours after Celli departed, according to Rahman, and took a report.

After police got a tip that Celli was building homemade explosives with the intent of targeting local Muslims, they executed a search warrant at Celli’s home.

There, they found a suspicious device and detonated it.

Police were first warned about Celli more than two weeks ago, when one of his Facebook friends raised the alarm about anti-Islamic postings he had uploaded along with an image purporting to show a homemade device.

The postings included the claim that members of his local mosque celebrated the Paris attacks and the suggestions that all Muslims in America should be sent back to their “country of origin”.

As part of his plea deal Celli is not allowed to have an active Facebook page.

Celli’s arrest in December came amid a frightening surge in anti-Muslim hate crimes and rhetoric after terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. In the month leading up to his arrest, the number of hate crimes against Muslims in the United states tripled.

And on December 8, just two weeks before Celli’s arrest, Trump called for a ban on all Muslims entering the US.

“We welcome the jail time handed out in this case and are appreciative of the cooperation and support from law enforcement and the district attorney’s office shown to the local Muslim community,” Zahra Billoo, executive director at the San Francisco-Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

“At a time when attacks on mosques and Muslim individuals are at an all-time high, this will send a message that such actions will have consequences.”

CAIR added in a statement that after Celli’s arrest, the Islamic Society of West Contra Costa County, like other mosques in the Bay area, has stepped up security and hired more private guards.

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