FBI probes threat against Texas Muslims
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today said the FBI is investigating the latest in a series of incidents targeting the Muslim community in Texas.
CAIR said the Islamic Center of El Paso in El Paso, Texas, (www.icoep.com) received an e-mailed threat of violence on Sunday, April 18. The e-mail, from a person called “freedom lover,” said that if hostages in Iraq were not freed within three days, “your islamic (sic) center will become the center of death and destruction.” The message went on to say: “The will of the people has been portrayed to you and your Satan worshiping faith.”
Local law enforcement authorities told CAIR they will step up police patrols in the area of the mosque.
“Islamophobic rhetoric is unfortunately on the rise in our society, prompting a minority to act out their bigoted views through threats and violence,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad. He called on political and religious leaders in Texas to speak out strongly against anti-Muslim hate.
Awad noted that earlier this month, an arson suspect was arrested at the scene of a fire at a Muslim business in San Antonio. It was the fourth arson fire at a Muslim-operated business in that city. In March, vandals scrawled racist graffiti on the interior of a Lubbock mosque.
An official with the Islamic Center of El Paso told CAIR that Sunday’s threat was the first since the anti-Muslim backlash following the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. After the 9/11 terror attacks, when other American Muslim communities faced threats and attacks, citizens of El Paso brought cards and flowers to the center.
Last week, CAIR announced a new campaign designed to counter anti-Muslim hate on radio talk shows. The campaign, called “Hate Hurts America,” is based on the premise that the increasing attacks on Islam by conservative talk show hosts harms the United States by creating a downward spiral of interfaith mistrust and hostility.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 26 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.