Letters threatening genocide against Muslims and praising Trump sent to multiple California mosques

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has called for increased police protection of local mosques after letters that threatened the genocide of Muslims and praised President-elect Donald Trump were sent to multiple California mosques this week.

The letters were sent to the Islamic Center of Long Beach and the Islamic Center of Claremont, CAIR’s greater Los Angeles chapter said in a statement. The same letter also was sent to the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose, according to CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter.

The handwritten letter, which was  photocopied, was addressed to “the children of Satan” and called Muslims a “vile and filthy people.” 

“Your day of reckoning has arrived,” the letter states, according to CAIR-LA. “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 [sic].” 

Both the Los Angeles and Bay Area chapters of CAIR have called for increased cooperation with law enforcement agencies to protect mosques.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR-LA, said in an interview that the Claremont and Long Beach Islamic centers received the letters Wednesday. The groups were debating whether to go public with the letters, he said, because they did not want to encourage copycats or create panic. But once they learned of the letter sent in Northern California, they wanted to inform the public and encourage police to look into the matter, Ayloush said.

Ayloush said people at the L.A. County mosques were “disheartened that anyone would address fellow Americans, fellow human beings, in such a hateful, dehumanizing way.” 

“You always want to trust that most people are good, that your neighbors have been good, and that has been our experience,” he said. Still, he said, the letters and the tone of the campaign season has left local Muslims concerned for their safety.

Ayloush said 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.”

Los Angeles law enforcement leaders this week vowed to crack down on hate crimes, which surged in California and across the nation last year. 

“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,” Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer said. 

Anti-Muslim incidents jumped 67% in 2015, according to newly released FBI hate crime statistics. There were 257 reported bias crimes against Muslims last year, compared with 154 in 2014.

A spate of bias incidents that followed Trump’s presidential election victory has drawn serious concerns from police and human rights activists. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center last week reported 701 incidents of harassment since Trump’s win, with most occurring in the first three days following the election. Of those, 206 incidents were anti-immigrant and 51 were anti-Muslim. 

There also were 27 reported anti-Trump incidents, according to the SPLC. 

hailey.branson@latimes.com

Twitter: @haileybranson

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UPDATES:

12:50 a.m. This article was updated with an interview with Hussam Ayloush.

This article was originally published at 11:05 a.m.

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