LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Federal and local law enforcement officials joined with Muslim community leaders Monday to condemn a series of letters sent to Southern California mosques that praised President-elect Donald Trump and threatened Muslim genocide.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, said the same handwritten, photocopied letter was sent last week to the Islamic Center of Long Beach in Signal Hill, the Islamic Center of Claremont and the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.
The letter was addressed to “the children of Satan” and it was signed by “American for A Better Way.” The L.A. area mosques received it Wednesday and the San Jose mosque on Thursday.
“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 states, according to CAIR. “And, he’s going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the jews (sic). You Muslims would be wise to pack your bags and get out of Dodge.”
Stephen Woolery, FBI special agent in charge of the bureau’s Counterterrorism Division in Los Angeles, said the letters contained “awful, awful language” against Muslims, but “the letters don’t speak specifically or directly about a threat of violence.”
The letters sent to the Islamic Center of Southern California and the mosque in Northridge were postmarked Nov. 19,
Deputy Chief Michael Downing of the LAPD’s Counter-Terrorism Special Operations Bureau said at a news conference on Monday.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-LA, said people at the L.A. County mosques were disheartened by the hateful letters and added that the “irresponsible, hateful rhetoric” of the Trump campaign has fueled “a level of vulgarity, vile hatred and anger among many self-proclaimed Trump supporters.”
“I’m not saying (Trump) created racist people,” he said. “He normalized it. While he might say he’s not responsible, and I respect that, I remind President-elect Trump that he has a responsibility to act as a president for all Americans.”
“As strong as the shield is on the uniform of every police officer, every FBI agent, who is committed to the Constitution, that is how strong this partnership is,” said Muslim leader Salam Al-Marayati, who reassured his community that law enforcement officials were committed to fighting hate crimes.
“It seems that people think that there’s an environment where they are emboldened to do this. And that’s not the case,” Downing said. “We’re asking all communities. If you’ve received letters like this to make sure you report those.”
San Jose Police Department spokesman Sgt. Enrique Garcia said his investigators were treating this as a “hate-motivated incident.”
Investigators said they believed the person, who wrote the letter, did so from out of state.