Over the holiday weekend, when millions of Americans were giving thanks for life, love, hope and family, several Muslim houses of worship -- at least five in California and one in Georgia -- received threatening letters, that said President-elect Donald Trump would "do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews."
Officials from the Atlanta-based Georgia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced they plan to visit Savannah in an interfaith measure of support of the Interfaith Center of Savannah, which was the recipient of one of the hate-filled missives.
The handwritten letter was signed by "Americans for a Better Way" and postmarked November 21 from Santa Clarita, California. It included a mythical Savannah return address that upon further examination was found not to exist and a generic Islamic-sounding name.
The anonymous letter began by addressing Muslims as "the Children of Satan," then continued by way of offensive insults, calling Muslims evil and a "vile and filthy people." It then said their "day of reckoning" had arrived in the form of a "new sheriff" referring to Trump. The missive said Trump would "cleanse America," making it "shine again."
"And he's going to start with you Muslims. He's going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews," the letter warned. "You Muslims would be wise to pack your pack your bags and get out of Dodge."
It concluded by saying, "This is a great time for patriotic Americans. Long live President Trump and God bless the U.S.A."
"Although anti-Muslim bigotry has surged since Election Day, our community fears God, not anonymous hate mail," said Edward Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-GA. "Whoever sent these letters should know that they have only strengthened our resolve to keep practicing our faith, defending our rights and building bridges with our neighbors."
"Right after Trump became president, my friends -- they started texting me, asking me if I was still going to wear the hijab," said Georgia State University student Samina Alam. "We see that there are some pockets of this nation that are coming out with such hatred. Not saying this defines us, but this something that we represent, and it's really hard to talk about it if it strips us down."
She points out that she tries to remain positive in spite of the amount of hatred that she sees on a regular basis.
"We'll still get questioned," she said. "We'll still be pulled out of security. I try to keep the positive reactions."
Mitchell pointed out that incidents targeting minorities overall, not just Muslims, has seen a sharp increase since Election Day.
"Whoever sent it was a coward and a bigot," he said. "Just because Donald Trump won the election doesn't mean it's open season on everybody he denigrated during the campaign."
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks such incidents nationally, said more than 700 such incidents had occurred in the week following Election Day.
A copy of the letter is shown below:
© 2017 WXIA-TV