Meeting in LA: Threatening Letters Sent to Mosques


Meeting in LA: Threatening Letters Sent to Mosques

On Monday, November 28th, 2016 Muslims leaders across Southern California met with LAPD and the FBI at the Islamic Center of Southern California to discuss the recent threatening letters that were sent to various mosques across California. Dr. Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini, President of the Shia Muslim Council of Southern California was amongst the leaders at the meeting. During a news conference at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles, Muslim Public Affairs Council President Salam Al-Marayati called for the person behind threatening letters sent to mosques in California and Georgia to come forward and talk with Muslims face to face.

A series of letters sent to mosques throughout California that threaten genocide against Muslims does not rise to the level of a hate crime, but police are still searching for the author or authors of the racist screeds, officials said Monday. Flanked by faith leaders and police commanders at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles, law enforcement leaders said they are still doggedly pursuing the letter-writer or writers to ensure they don’t pose a larger threat.

“We know that incidents routinely evolve into crimes,” LAPD Cmdr. Horace Frank said. “We don’t want to wait until this evolves.” The gathering near Koreatown was sparked by a series of handwritten messages recently sent to Muslim faith centers in Los Angeles, Signal Hill, Northridge, Claremont, San Jose and Savannah, Ga. Each missive was addressed to the “Children of Satan” and called Muslims a “vile and filthy people.” The letters also praised President-elect Donald Trump and called for Muslims to be eradicated in the U.S.

“Your day of reckoning has arrived,” the letter read, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Greater Los Angeles chapter. “There’s a new sheriff in town — President Donald Trump. He’s going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And, he’s going to start with you Muslims.”  The letter, signed only by “Americans for a Better Way,” said Trump was “going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.”

Stephen Woolery, who heads the counterterrorism division of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, said the messages are too vague to constitute a hate crime. While the FBI does not have an open investigation into the letters, police in Los Angeles, Pomona, San Jose and other jurisdictions are still trying to find the author or authors, and plan to document the threats as a “hate incident.” Frank said threats like these could be indicative of a larger threat, pointing to the October arrest of an Agoura Hills man who called the Islamic Center of Southern California and threatened to kill people there because of his “hatred for Muslims.” When that man, 40-year-old Mark Feigin, was arrested, a search of his home turned up thousands of rounds of ammunition and several weapons, police and prosecutors have said.  Investigators said the letters appear similar, and it is likely each was sent by the same person…

Continue reading at: Los Angeles Times

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