The Georgia chapter of a national organization is warning mosques in the state to step up security after reports of threatening letters and e-mails sent to at least four different houses of worship.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported that a letter sent to one mosque threatened "death to you and your kind" and that the writer declared him or herself a "Muslim slayer." CAIR reports that at least three other mosques received identical e-mails.
"Georgia Muslims cannot allow anti-Muslim bigots to scare us away from proudly and publicly practicing our faith, whether those bigots are writing anonymous letters in a dark basement or writing policy in the White House," said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia. "But we should take steps to protect our rights, our houses of worship and our communities."
In late February, the organization said that the Greenview Madani Center, a mosque in Lawrenceville, Ga. received a mailed, handwritten letter with the message "Death is waiting for you and your kind" along with a crudely drawn picture of a decapitated person. Additionally, CAIR reports that Masjid Omar bin Abdul Aziz in Norcross, Ga., Al-Farooq Masjid and another Atlanta-area mosque received threatening emails earlier that month.
The emails had the subject line "YOUR ONE WARNING" and, according to CAIR, included the phrase "MUZLIMS MEXICANS BLACKS WE WILL HUNTED NATION WIDE UNTIL ARE ARE DEAD OR GONE" adding "PLAN TO RUN OR DIE, THIS IS A KINDNESS THAT WE GIVE YOU ALL WARNING, TAKE IT AND GO."
The letters come among increased stigma directed toward Muslims and immigrants in the U.S. as well as heightened security in travel from countries deemed high risk by the new U.S. administration.
"We hope that state and federal law enforcement authorities will identify and arrest the criminals threatening violence against Georgia mosques," Mitchell said. "While the perpetrators are being sought, mosque leaders should do all they can to protect their houses of worship by working with local law enforcement authorities, installing security cameras and employing security officers during the daily prayers."
CAIR reports that mosques in Alabama also received similar threats by e-mail in late February. The organization believes the e-mail portion of these threats may be part of a mass mailing to mosques across the country.