Florida Man Threatens to Burn Down Home Bought by Muslim Family, Blames AIDS Medication

A Florida man who threatened to burn down a home being purchased by a Muslim family has been jailed for eight months after pleading guilty to a felony civil rights violation.

David H. Howard, 59, of Tampa, Florida, admitted he intimidated and interfered with Kaderbhai Ali Asgar and his wife, Sehera Ali Asgar, both Muslim of Indian descent, as they sought to purchase the $658,000 home in the Davis Islands neighborhood in November 2016.

"This sale will not take place," Howard said, according to court documents seen by the Miami Herald. "I will break all of your fucking windows and I will burn your fucking house down! You are not welcome here!"

Intimidated by the abuse, the family canceled the sale of the house and lost their $30,000 deposit, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

In the days that followed, Howard told neighbors about the incident and made insulting remarks about Muslims, according to the Justice Department.

In court, Howard said he was a “good person” and that most people would prefer a "regular American family" to move in next door. He blamed the outburst against the Asgars on steroids he had been taking to combat weight loss following his AIDS diagnosis.

After pleading guilty in February, Howard has now been sentenced to eight months in jail, followed by two years of supervised release, and required to pay $30,000 in restitution.

GettyImages-73720258 A house for sale is seen 27 March 2007 in Miami, Florida. David H. Howard has been jailed for threatening to burn down a home being purchased by a Muslim family last November. ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP/Getty Images

"In targeting his victims based on the arbitrary characteristics of race and religion, Howard invoked the fears of racial violence and religious prejudice feared by many Muslim Americans," Assistant U.S. Attorney Josephine Thomas wrote in a sentencing memorandum, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

In a separate, still pending civil case, Howard said that he lost a family member in 9/11 and that he "wasn’t crazy about Muslims."

Following his sentencing, Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore said: “This Justice Department will not stand by when individuals use violence and intimidation to deny fair housing rights. The Civil Rights Division will continue to prosecute crimes like this one that deprive families of a safe place to live.”

“Today’s sentence should send a clear message that we will vigorously uphold our nation’s civil rights laws,” said United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez. “Crimes perpetrated against people because of who they are or what they believe simply cannot be tolerated.”

“The FBI’s mission is to protect the American people and uphold the laws of the United States, and that’s what we did in this case. We will not allow hate motivated crimes to infiltrate our communities and threaten our citizens,” added Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Tampa Division, Eric W. Sporre.

Update: This article has been changed to include a quote from Josephine Thomas. 

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