Report Finds Lapses Ahead of New Zealand Mosque Attack

There were no clear signs that an attack last year on two New Zealand mosques was imminent, but police should have done a better job vetting the lone gunman when he applied for a gun license, and intelligence agencies should have focused more on threats such as white supremacism, according to a new report.

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Surveillance

The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for rehearing of unlawful search and discrimination claims brought by three Muslim residents of California who alleged the FBI used an informant to infiltrate several Los Angeles and Orange County mosques to “conduct a covert surveillance program that gathered information about Muslims based solely on their religious identity.”

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Arson

Robert Doggart was improperly convicted of solicitation to commit federal arson for his planned attack on a mosque in New York because the religious building was not used in interstate commerce, as required by the underlying arson statute, the Sixth Circuit ruled. From his home in Tennessee, Doggart plotted to burn down the mosque, plans he shared with an FBI confidential informant. 

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Neighborhood Mosque

A city in Michigan properly negotiated a consent decree to permit the construction of a mosque in a residential neighborhood, the Sixth Circuit ruled. Citizens’ First Amendment rights were not violated when the mayor cut off public comments that were irrelevant to zoning considerations, such as commenters’ preference not to “live near Muslims.”

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