Mosques in California Receive Threatening Letters

Mosques in California Receive Threatening Letters

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After several mosques received hateful letters espousing genocide the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) requested increased police protection. Islamic centers in Long Beach, Claremont, and San Jose were sent the same letter according to CAIR’s Greater Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area chapters in California.

A photocopy of a handwritten letter stated that Muslims were foul and slovenly. It was addressed to “the children of Satan.” The writer indicated the belief that President-elect Donald Trump will settle the score with this evil group of people. The CAIR-LA reports the letter states:

Your day of reckoning has arrived. There’s a new sheriff in town – President [sic] Trump. He’s going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And he’s going to start with Muslims.

Signed by “Americans for a Better Way,” the writer boasted the belief that Trump would eliminate the Muslims the same way Adolph Hitler did with the Jews.

Mosque Council Director Interview

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush stated the letters were received by the Los Angeles-based mosques on Nov. 23, 2016. The reason for the delay in reporting this was the fear of raising panic and the desire to discourage copycat letters. However, when the council heard that a third mosque also been sent the letter in San Jose, they thought it best to make the threats public.

Ayloush relayed the feelings of the people at the Los Angeles mosques felt deeply saddened that someone would address them in this “hateful and dehumanizing” manner. He stated it was not the way Americans and human beings should communicate with one another.

Unfortunately, Trump’s thoughtless, hateful campaign rhetoric normalized bigotry, which exists in America. Ayloush pointed out that the president-elect’s language ignited, “a level of vulgarity, vile hatred, and anger among many self-proclaimed Trump supporters.”

The CAIR executive was quick to clarify that he was not blaming Trump for creating the racism. The fact that the president-elect fanned the fire is the reason these mosques received the letter. Ayloush made a point of reminding Trump that he must accept the responsibility of representing all Americans as the president.

Hate Crime Crackdown Promise in Los Angeles

The same day the Mosques received the threatening letters the leaders of the Los Angeles law enforcement agencies met to announce their commitment to defend the city and prevent its citizens from becoming victim to fear of hate crimes. The LA County District Attorney, Jackie Lacy, along with the city attorney, Mike Feuer, and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck spoke about the rising numbers of hate crimes in California.

They urged victims of crimes with a religious or racial motive to file reports immediately. The law enforcement officials discussed the effects such crimes have on the county and the city overall. Feuer mentioned that hate-related crimes are often not reported and that victims should not be fearful of filing complaints with the police simply because of their immigration status.

He emphatically explained:

Acts of hate tear at the fabric of who we are as a nation, and we want to send a strong message that no one should be reluctant or afraid to report a hate crime. None of us is ever going to re-victimize someone who is either a victim or a witness of a hate-crime.

Police and Human Rights Activists Express Increased Concerns

The number of hate crimes surged during the last year in California and the nation. Following Trump’s victory on Nov. 8, the uptick of incidents rose in record numbers. The police and human rights activists have expressed increased concerns about this rise in crimes with a bias motive.

Beck explained that in Los Angeles there was a 19 percent increase in 2015 over the previous year. Whereas the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Rights claims the increase was 24 percent. There were 483 hate crimes reported last year, which the commission states is the largest total since 2011.

FBI records indicate that nationally hate crimes reports filed grew by seven percent. Their data further reports that anti-Muslim incidents skyrocketed by over 65 percent. There were 257 crimes reported in 2015. By comparison, in 2014, there were 154.

According to Beck, hate crimes need to be dealt with in a swift manner to minimize the effect on the communities that are victimized.

Mosques, Muslims and Immigrants Targeted More After Trump’s Victory

No one is placing blame on any one group, however, Beck did express law enforcement concerns that the election cycle and its hateful rhetoric encouraged the fringe nationalist and white separatist groups to become emboldened.

There has been a surge of swastika vandalism, the alt-right leaders hail Trump as the man who will clean up this country. All appearances indicate they intend to support and encourage hate crimes as a means to assist the president-elect in this endeavor.

By Randee Ware

Sources:

Los Angeles Times: Letters threatening genocide against Muslims and praising Trump sent to multiple California mosques
Los Angeles Times: With hate crimes rising, L.A. law enforcement vows to crack down
Guardian Liberty Voice: Heil President-Elect Donald Trump! [Video]

Image Courtesy of Steve Rhodes’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

 

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