Prosecutors: Man charged after threatening to kill Muslims at North Seattle mosque

SEATTLE — A 37-year-old man was arrested after making threats against a Seattle mosque and a subsequent standoff with police.

On Thursday, prosecutors charged Robert Kinder Farris with malicious harassment for the threats they say he made to the Idris Mosque in North Seattle.

Charging documents say Farris also made death threats to the Muslim Association of Puget Sound in 2015. According to investigators he used his own phone to call the Redmond mosque and threatened to kill the person who answered the phone.  Bail was set at $2 million dollars on Thursday afternoon.

He was taken in custody on Tuesday at his Greenwood apartment after making threats against the Idris Mosque in the Northgate neighborhood.

See collected photos from the scene in North Seattle here.




According to prosecutors he admitted he posted the threats on Facebook: "the final crusade against Islam has begun," said the post Tuesday,  "Revenge is a beautiful thing."

People who grew up with Farris told KIRO 7 he's sent inappropriate messages to them on Facebook for years. Some of his messages were so hateful they blocked him on Facebook. His childhood friends say Tuesday was different. Farris posted about killing and they contacted police.

Detectives say Farris was specific in his threat, "It's gonna happen, a lone wolf American will blow these --- up. Someone with no wife, no kids, nothing to lose."

Prosecutors say Farris indicated a specific target, and wrote, "Idriss Mosque in Seattle, too many targets to count."

Farris chose not to attend his court appearance at the jail Wednesday afternoon. The judge found probable cause, and postponed the bail hearing until Thursday.




Seattle police received information from the one of the man's friends about the threats earlier Tuesday.  A heavy police presence was immediately stationed at the mosque and several officers remained throughout the night even after the arrest was made.

Police said the man made threats online and also claimed to have purchased an assault rifle and extra ammunition recently. According to court documents released Wednesday, investigators did not find any weapons in the Greenwood apartment.

A neighbor who lives next door described the arrested man as someone who kept to himself during his five months as a tenant.
The man has previously been contacted by local law enforcement personnel investigating harassment and threats to another mosque, Seattle police said.
Seattle police are working closely with the FBI in their investigation. A spokesman for Seattle police said it is likely he will face local charges, not federal charges.

Leaders of the Idris Mosque praised the quick police response.

They said if the suspect was seeking revenge for the Orlando shootings, where a man killed at least 49 in the name of Islamic extremism, then his efforts were gravely misguided. Mosque leaders said their community is one of peace.

An attack on a mosque during this time of year could have been particularly devastating.  Large crowds gather at the Islamic houses of worship nightly for the celebration of Ramadan.

Arsalan Bukhari of CAIR, Council on American-Islamic Relations said hate crimes against Muslim Americans are at an all-time high.  In 2015 CAIR's national office received reports of one to two incidents daily. Bukhari wants Farris prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

"There's no justification for violence," said Bukhari.

He said there are about 55 mosques in Washington and all of them have contacted local law enforcement to ask for increased patrols during Ramadan.

"The safety of the children and the families that are going to those mosques every day is on our minds and we're working to make sure they're kept safe."