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Man denies 'hate e-mail' to columnist

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A Toledo man was in Maumee Municipal Court yesterday on charges of sending alleged "hate e-mails" to Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, a retired surgeon and University of Toledo trustee.

Michael Coon, 52, of 5508 Edgewater Dr., Toledo, is charged with three counts of felony ethnic intimidation, according to authorities.

The Blade columnist said yesterday the e-mails were "very abusive to me, my faith, my nationality, and my ethnicity. They were all-around very abusive." Dr. Hussain characterized the electronic communications as "excessive and relentless."

Dr. Hussain, who is Muslim and originally from Pakistan, has written about topics such as Islam, medicine, and political topics in Pakistan and elsewhere in his columns.

Coon said yesterday his messages voiced objections to columns Dr. Hussain has written for The Blade, and he also writes e-mails to Blade columnists Thomas Walton and Marilou Johanek. Coon said he has never met Dr. Hussain and e-mailed him using the contact information listed at the end of Dr. Hussain's columns.

"What he writes about politically, I am just totally against," Coon said, adding he disagreed with Dr. Hussain's columns on foreign policy and universal health care, among others. "I never threatened him [and] never intimidated him."

He added, "Coon is not a psycho, Coon is an American patriot," referring to himself.

When Coon was arraigned yesterday, he was given a supervised bond, and was ordered to have no contact - including e-mail contact - with Dr. Hussain.

Coon said he has hired an attorney and plans to fight the charges.

"We'll see if 12 real Americans will think this guy was abused, harassed, or intimidated," he said. "I can't wait to get to trial."

Coon said he was never told by Dr. Hussain or law enforcement to stop sending e-mails, and Dr. Hussain responded to some of the e-mails.

He added that he thought Dr. Hussain was "an anti-American, anti-Christian, Marxist nut."

The Maumee prosecutor's office said a prosecutor has not been assigned to the case yet, declined to comment, and referred all questions about the case to Lucas County Sheriff's Detective Mark Woodruff.

Detective Woodruff said eight to 10 e-mails were sent from Coon to Dr. Hussain beginning in February, 2007.

"They were hate e-mails against Muslims," Detective Woodruff said, adding some of the e-mails said Dr. Hussain gave money to terrorists and expressed happiness over a recent attack in Dr. Hussain's home.

In May, several intruders broke into Dr. Hussain's Springfield Township home, sprayed him with Mace, struck him on the head with a handgun, and demanded money. Dr. Hussain escaped out a back door. Detective Woodruff said Coon was not involved in the attack.

Contact Kate Giammarise at:

kgiammarise@theblade.com

or 419-724-6133.

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