A national Muslim civil rights organization has asked the FBI to investigate what it considers threats made on the Internet against a Bosnian mosque in St. Louis.
One blog post cited by the group made reference to vandalism and another to the use of dynamite.
Zachary Lowe, a special agent in the St. Louis office of the FBI, said Tuesday that while he could not confirm an investigation, the bureau “takes all threats against people very seriously, especially religious and ethnic groups.”
The comments were made on at least two blogs and related to a posting about a minaret being built at the mosque. The mosque is the Islamic Community Center, or Madina Masjid, at 4666 Lansdowne Avenue. A minaret is a tower from which the Muslim call to prayer is traditionally sounded.
The author of a blog called “Gateway Pundit: Observations of the World from the heart of Jesusland,” posted three photos of the minaret covered with scaffolding. One of the photos included the caption: “Those calls to prayers ought to go over really well with the people of this South St. Louis neighborhood.”
The “Gateway Pundit” author also cited another blog, Republican Riot, saying the Muslim call to prayer “is to be broadcast several times a day.”
But Madina Masjid’s spiritual leader, Imam Muhamed Hasic, said the minaret is symbolic, not practical. There is no sound system or speakers on the minaret, which is scheduled to be completed next week. He said the minaret will not be used to call Muslims to prayer.
Another blog, called “Little Green Footballs,” linked to the “Gateway Pundit” post, and several comments on “Little Green Footballs,” caused the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations to contact the FBI, said Ibrahim Hooper, the council’s spokesman.
“We ourselves get these kinds of hate messages and threats frequently,” Hooper said. “But you never know who’s just talking and who’s going to carry out some of these threats, so you have to check them out.” (MORE)