(PATERSON, N.J., 7/3/15) â€“ The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) today urged law enforcement authorities to investigate a phone threat targeting a Paterson, N.J., mosque as a hate crime.
Because of the threat, the Islamic Center of Passaic County (ICPC) was evacuated early Thursday as worshippers were about to start their morning (fajr) prayer.
In a statement, ICPC Board of Trustees wrote:
“Just before Fajr (dawn) prayer early this [Thursday] morning, the Paterson police department informed us they received a threatening call alleging someone with assault weapons was entering ICPC. As safety and the wellbeing of our congregants is our top priority, all congregants were evacuated to safety to allow authorities to perform precautionary investigations. After a very thorough search of the premises, no weapons were found. Thankfully, the threat turned out to be a hoax.
“Nonetheless, we are continuing to work diligently with our partners in law enforcement to safeguard our center and community from any harm. We are very thankful to all levels of law enforcement for the excellent effort they put forth to take this matter with the utmost seriousness that it deserves. Investigations will continue to find the source of this false threat and prosecute the perpetrator(s) to the fullest extent of the law.Â
“All prayer services, including tonight's Taraweeh prayers, will continue as scheduled. We want to remind our valued community members to always be on the alert and to report any suspicious activity to ICPC security and/or the authorities. ICPC will increase its level of security as a precautionary measure. We shall also enforce additional safety measures that we plan to share with you tonight. We look forward to seeing you all at ICPC tonight inshaa'Allah .”
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-NJ Chair Nadia Kahf, 973-901-1618, email@example.com