Toledo – An Indiana man convicted of setting fire to an Ohio mosque attributed his crime to the influence of Fox News, which he says convinced him that “most Muslims are terrorists.”
Randolph Linn, 52, of St. Joe, Indiana pleaded guilty to arson for burning the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. His plea will result in a 20-year prison term; prosecutors had sought a 40-year sentence. Linn told the court that on September 30 he had gotten “riled up” as a result of watching Fox News and drinking beer.
Linn claims to have drank 45 beers in seven hours before heading to the mosque and setting a fire in the prayer room. He was also reportedly armed with a revolver at the time. During the court proceedings, Judge Jack Zouhary asked Linn if he knew any Muslims or knew what Islam was about. “No, I only know what I hear on Fox news and what I hear on [right-wing talk] radio,” Linn replied. “Muslims are killing Americans and trying to blow stuff up,” Linn told the judge. “Most Muslims are terrorists and don’t believe in Jesus Christ,” Linn falsely stated, ignorant of the fact that Jesus is revered as a prophet in Islam. After he was arrested on October 2, Linn told officers, “Fuck those Muslims… they would kill us if they got the chance.” Linn will be formally sentenced on April 16. A 2010 University of Maryland study found that Fox News viewers are the most ignorant on key issues. And another study conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University determined that Fox News viewers know less than people who watch no news at all.