SILVER SPRING, Md. - Several Jewish community centers and mosques have been on the receiving end of a wave of threats this week. President Donald Trump in his joint address to Congress right out of the gate condemned these threats saying, "We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its ugly forms.”
The latest of the string of threats are two letters sent to two different mosques in Silver Spring, Maryland. The note in the envelopes wrote, "I will pay $100 to charity for every Muslim slaughtered” followed by a crude depiction of a violent act.
The Islamic Education Society of Maryland and the Muslim Community Center both received these letters Monday night and it is still unclear if they were mailed or simply placed at the centers.
Those notes received just hours after three different Jewish day schools – one in Virginia and two in Maryland – received bomb threats by telephone.
Some are questioning why these letters are being sent to mosques. The community fears it is all about harassment and intimidation.
“I could not understand, but there was a little bit of panic because people come and go,” said Taiyab Mohiuddin of the Islamic Education Society of Maryland. “I was a little bit afraid. I wanted to consult with the police. I spoke to them and they said it was definitely a threat crime.”
“We all need to stand united and work towards making our country better,” said Altamasah Ahmed, who attend the Silver Spring mosque. “Just sending these nonsensical letters and trying to intimidate people, it is not going to go far. Okay, two days, three days, they are going to talk in the media and boom, everybody forgets about it. I know we are talking about this bad letter. I got these notes from our neighbors and other people that have come up and they talk about how apologetic they are for all the circumstances around us.”
“Our hope is that it is merely meant to intimidate and nothing further,” said Doron Ezickson, the Washington D.C. regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. “Although unfortunately, we have had a couple of incidents, including an arrest in South Carolina just last week and then the terrible shooting out in Kansas. We've had desecration of cemeteries. Some folks are going beyond speech and are starting to act and that is why we have called on the president and all agencies of the federal government as well as law enforcement to elevate this issue to the appropriate level and to have a broad task force to respond in every jurisdiction to the problems and to really fight, take this on head-on.”
The Anti-Defamation League said the FBI has been informing the organization of its progress, but there have still been no arrests made in connection with the threatening letters or calls.