LOS ANGELES – The attorney of a California man who was arrested for threatening to shoot up a mosque said he is a victim of a ‘toxic political climate.’
Investigators allege that Mark Feigin, 40, called the islamic Center of Southern California twice last month, at one point threatening to kill its members because of his “hatred for Muslims and his belief that Muslims will destroy the United States.”
The L.A. Police Department launched an investigation into the calls and arrested Feigin during a traffic stop Oct. 19. Police searched his Agoura Hills home and found several guns — rifles, shotguns, handguns — and thousands of rounds of ammunition in his Agoura Hills home, the commander said.
But the guns were just a collection and Feigin never fired them, said Robert Sheahen, one of his attorneys. He acknowledged Feigin “made some intemperate comments,” but said he is not conceding his client’s guilt.
The attorneys also released a statement Friday saying their client has no prior criminal record and poses no threat:
“Mark Feigin is a good, decent man. He has no criminal record and he is not a danger to anyone. He has worked as a Chinese translator, as a screenwriter and as a real estate developer,” the statement said. “If anything, Mr. Feigin was a victim of the toxic national discourse of this political season.”
Feigin has been exposed to a lot of “alt-right” media coverage that vilifies Muslims, his attorneys said.
“Mr. Feigin now realizes we must work as a nation to put an end to fear and intolerance,” the statement said. “Our Islamic brethren must be both protected and respected. We hope to be able to reach out to Islamic representatives in the near future to begin a process of apology, contrition, dialogue — and education.”
State prosecutors charged Feigin with making criminal threats. His weapons and ammunition were seized pending the outcome of his case, Sheahen said.
Feigin faces an additional allegation of committing a hate crime and a misdemeanor count of making telephone calls, according to documents filed in court last week. He is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 10.
“Unfortunately, in today’s political climate, such hate is not uncommon,” said Omar Ricci, a spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California. “We get a call every once in a while. This particular call rose to a different level.”
Feigin is currently out on bail.