U.S. officials on Wednesday arrested an Iowa man and charged him with making online threats against a Boston mosque, including threats to shoot and kill Muslims.
Federal court papers unsealed on Wednesday charged that Gerald Wayne Ledford, 57, of Clinton, Iowa, made threatening posts on the Facebook page of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, including the post "we will destroy you" and photos of a person carrying a long gun.
In addition to the posts on the Islamic society's Facebook page, Ledford's own profile included threatening statements dating back to October, when two men inspired by radical jihadist beliefs launched separate fatal attacks on Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and outside Montreal.
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Ledford is due to face a charge of transmitting a communication containing a threat to injure a person in U.S. District Court in Boston on June 24. The charge carries a possible five-year prison term if he is convicted.
The United States has seen a series of Islam-linked protests in recent weeks, some sparked by an attack by gunmen in Texas on a showcase of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, drawings that are considered blasphemous by many Muslims.
Anti-Muslim groups have been active buying ads and staging demonstrations characterizing the religion as violent, often citing the murderous brutality of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
Boston itself was staggered in 2013 by a bombing attack on its world-renowned marathon in which a pair of brothers who were adherents of al Qaeda's extremist ideology killed three people and injured 264 others.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Eric Walsh)