OHIO: Lebanese-American judge hands down harsh sentence for former Marine charged with mosque arson for setting fire to a prayer rug

Does U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary’s Lebanese background influence his decisions regarding Christian defendants and plaintiffs?

Stripes  TOLEDO, Ohio — A former Marine from Indiana admitted that he broke into a mosque in Ohio and set fire to a prayer rug because he wanted revenge for the killings of American troops overseas. Randy Linn pleaded guilty to hate crime charges, saying he’d become enraged after seeing images of wounded soldiers in the news.

Surveillance photo of Linn
Surveillance photo of Randy Linn

Linn said he went room by room to make sure no one was in the building. “I was drinking a beer while I was doing that,” he said. A sprinkler system extinguished the blaze, leaving smoke and water damage in the prayer room of the facility, whose golden dome is a landmark along Interstate 75. No one was hurt.

A woman who knows Linn had identified him in publicized surveillance images and contacted authorities, according to a court affidavit. The woman told law enforcement officers that Linn had made comments complaining about the deaths of U.S. military members in the Middle East, recent attacks on U.S. embassies and Muslims’ angry reactions to an anti-Islam video posted online.


52-year-old Randolph Linn of St. Joe, Indiana agreed to a 20 year sentence in federal prison yesterday for torching the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo on September 30.  When Judge Jack Zouhary asked him, ‘Do you know any Muslims or do you know what Islam is?’ he said, ‘No, I only know what I hear on Fox News and what I hear on radio.”

“Every day you turn on the TV, you see Muslims trying to kill Americans,” said Linn, a truck driver from St. Joe. When asked by a federal judge whether he thought all Muslims are terrorists, he answered: “I’d say most of them are.”


A deal between prosecutors and Linn, 52, calls for him to be sentenced to 20 years next April. He pleaded guilty to intentionally damaging and destroying religious property and two gun-related charges.

U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary told Linn that his acts were an attack on all places of religion and that the mosque was a symbol of peace. (DING DING DING! Judge must be a Muslim) “You are no better than the terrorists or extremists you sought to punish,” Zouhary said.

christian-rock-bands-lawsuit-dismissed A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against a suburban school district filed by a Christian rock band banned from playing at a school assembly. U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary said on Aug. 1 that the school was within its rights to cancel the performance because the district could have been perceived as endorsing a particular religion.

Naturalization ceremonies in this judge’s district always seem to have a preponderance of people from Muslim countries.

Judge Jack Zouhary congratulates Mohamad Najib Mahmoud at the naturalization ceremony. Mr. Mahmoud is a native of Lebanon. At least 12 other new US citizens at this ceremony were Muslims.
Judge Jack Zouhary (Left) congratulates Mohamad Najib Mahmoud at a naturalization ceremony. Mr. Mahmoud is a native of Lebanon. At least 12 other new US citizens (out of 41) at this ceremony were from Muslim countries.