California Mosques Receive Letters Threatening Muslim Genocide

Ugly Bigotry

At least 10 Islamic centers have received letters praising president-elect Donald Trump and calling for the genocide of Muslims in the United States. The letters are believed to have been written by the same person. The letters were addressed to “the children of Satan” and they were signed by “Americans for A Better Way”. They referred to Muslims as “children of Satan” and called Trump the “new sheriff in town” who will “cleanse America and make it shine again” by eradicating the country’s Muslim population. “He’s going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews,” the letters state.

The first threatening letter was sent to the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose last week, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). After that, more mosques received similar letters, such as Islamic Center of Southern California, Long Beach Islamic Center, Islamic Center of Northridge and others.  Each of the letters ended with “long live President Trump and God bless the USA.” Authorities were alerted and investigators from several jurisdictions are working to track down the source of the letters.

Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Downing of the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau pointed out a much bigger problem and said that “this isn’t a Muslim problem, a Jewish problem or a Christian problem. This is a problem with humanity.” Stephen Woolery, head of the counterterrorism division of the FBI’s Los Angeles office said, “The letters are sensational. But the letters don’t specifically contain a threat. The letters don’t speak specifically or directly about a threat of violence. And that’s what the FBI looks for when we investigate these types of incidents.” According to him, those letters couldn’t be considered a hate crime because their contents are unclear.

On Monday, CAIR’s national executive director, Nihad Awad, wrote to FBI Director James B. Comey to request a formal investigation. According to the FBI, hate crimes increased by 6.7 percent from 2014 to 2015. Anti-black and anti-Jewish incidents rose by about 7.6 and 9 percent, respectively. Hussam Ayloush, executive director of Cair-LA, said people at the LA County mosques were disheartened by the hateful letters and added that the “irresponsible, hateful rhetoric” of the Trump campaign had fueled “a level of vulgarity, vile hatred and anger among many self-proclaimed Trump supporters”.

In a victory speech on election night, Trump vowed to be president of all Americans. He also added later that he was surprised and saddened to hear about the reports of intimidation and harassment of minorities, including Muslims and immigrants. He called on those committing hateful acts in his name to “stop it.”

It is certain that Trump’s initiative for temporary ban on Muslims was one of his most controversial and popular proposals, alongside building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and deporting people who are in the United States illegally.

But some Islamic representatives, such as Reza Nekumanesh, director of the Islamic center in Fresno, said the idea that Trump created hatred is a “ridiculous concept”. He thinks that the messages in those letters represent “a deeply rooted hatred that has existed since the country’s inception. “ “All he (Trump) did is make it okay to say it loudly”, he added.

Photo Credits: StaticFlickr

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