A Florida man convicted of a hate crime for leaving bacon in a mosque and breaking the mosque’s windows has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Michael Wolfe of Titusville took a plea deal, pleading guilty to criminal mischief Tuesday in connection with the January 2016 incident and was sentenced to 15 years behind bars with an additional 15 years of probation following his release.
Wolfe is also barred from entering the Islamic Society of Central Florida Masjid Al-Munin Mosque, located in Titusville.
The Brevard and Seminole County state attorney’s office noted that Wolfe’s offense has been classified as a hate crime.
Prosecutors said they reached a plea deal after speaking with Titusville police and the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), according to Florida Today.
“The Florida Muslim Community is suffering an unprecedented number of hate crimes,” Wilfredo Ruiz, a spokesman for Florida CAIR, said in a statement. “Multiple mosques and Islamic institutions have been broken into, vandalized and even set on fire.”
“The intent is to really deter similar kinds of hate crime. After what we’ve seen in Texas at the church, this is needed,” Imam Muhammad Musri, who is in charge of several area mosques, said.
The Islamic faith forbids the consumption or handling of pork products, which is why prosecutors decided to charge Wolfe with a hate crime when he left bacon at the mosque.