(MIAMI, FL, 4/19/19) – The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the arrest of John Kless, a Broward County South Florida resident, who allegedly made death threats against Muslim Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-M), and against Congressmen Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).
According to an article by the Miami New Times reporter Jerry Ianelli, on April 16, 49-year-old John Kless called the Washington, D.C. offices of Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Swalwell and Sen. Cory Booker and left voicemail messages threatening murder.
According to that article, “In all three messages, Kless referenced his hatred for Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar ”” repeatedly calling her slurs such as ”˜towel head’ and ”˜a member of the Taliban.’”
In addition to threatening Rep. Omar, Kless sent anti-black and Islamophobic threats to Cory Booker, anti-Muslim and homophobic threats to Rep. Tlaib, and threatened Rep. Eric Swalwell over Swalwell’s position on gun control.
SEE Full Criminal Complaint (unredacted): U.S. v. John Joseph Kless
“This outrageous, Islamophobic, criminal conduct needs to be forcefully prosecuted to the utmost extent,” said CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo Amr Ruiz. “The inflammatory and racist rhetoric originated by our President and several hate groups active across America have repercussions.”
He added: “For years, our community members in Florida have been suffering from an unprecedented uptick in hate crimes including tow mosques falling to arson in less than and multiple others bomb threatened. This arrest should be followed with hate crimes charges leading to a harsher sentence.
He added that in 2017, CAIR documented 144 anti-mosque incidents, including harassment, intimidation, and hate crimes and that it is still in the process of documenting all anti-mosque incidents for 2018.
About CAIR-Florida / Acerca de CAIR-Florida
CAIR-Florida’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR-Florida es mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, proteger las libertades civiles, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR-FL Communications Director Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, email@example.com, 305.502.6749