Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Muslims angry over leniency for terrorist.
Seminole podiatrist Robert J. Goldstein pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to plotting to blow up a local mosque.
Goldstein faces 121/2 to 15 years in prison, according to a plea agreement, about two years less than he likely would face if convicted of the same charges at trial.
Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office expressed relief that the plot was foiled and the main player will go to prison. But the plea agreement left a local Muslim group with mixed feelings.
If Goldstein were a Muslim who plotted to blow up buildings, he would have faced a much harsher sentence, said Ahmed Bedier, communications director of the Florida office of the Council of American-Islamic Relations.
"This appears to be a double standard," he said. "This sentence also sends a message that it just might be worth the risk to attack American Muslims." [...]
Altaf Ali, CAIR's executive director in Florida, said he had hoped the prosecutors would treat the case with "more seriousness," given the potential damage posed by the plot.
"We wanted them to treat this as a domestic terrorist cell," Ali said. "These are not tough enough sentences for what they planned to carry out."