At least three mosques in California received the same letter containing hateful speech targeted towards Muslims, the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a press release Saturday. The person who wrote the letter also indicated support for President-elect Donald Trump.
The letter was sent to the Islamic Center of Long Beach in Signal Hill, California, the Islamic Center of Claremont in Pomona, California and to the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose, California.
Police in San Jose said officers were dispatched to the Evergreen Islamic Center on Nov. 24 on a suspicious circumstance call regarding a letter the mosque received with hate language. The department’s assaults unit is conducting the investigation into the letter.
The watch commander at the Signal Hill Police Department told Patch they received a report of a letter sent to the Islamic Center of Long Beach about a week ago while police in Pomona said they had not yet received any calls of service or a call reporting the letter from the Islamic Center of Claremont.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR LA, told Patch both the mosques in Pomona and Signal Hill had informed them that they were engaged with their respective local authorities. Ayloush said they prefer for the mosques to contact authorities themselves because they prefer the effort to be localized. He did not have information on when the specific incidents were reported to law enforcement but said CAIR received reports about the letters during the middle of the week.
The letter sent to the three mosques was addressed, “To the children of Satan.” The handwritten letter calls Muslims a “a vile and filthy people” and says Trump is going to cleanse America, starting with Muslims, saying Trump would do to them what Hitler did to the Jews.
Ayloush said it is not uncommon for mosques to receive hateful letter and often times they ignore the letters so as not to escalate the incidents and in turn create panic. He said that once they learned that the report of the letter sent to the mosque in San Jose had been covered by several media outlets, CAIR decided they might as well alert people to the incidents.
Referring to the letter in question, Ayloush said “what’s unusual about it is that it covered many mosques at the same time.”
“I have a strong feeling that more than three mosques were targeted,” he said.
Ayloush said he is meeting with mosque leaders in Southern California on Saturday and if they find that more mosques were targeted or that the problem represents a larger trend, they might possibly look into contacting the FBI or Attorney General Kamala Harris.
CAIR’s national office said it has seen a spike in incidents targeting American Muslims and other minority groups since the presidential election. Anxieties are high in the Muslim community due to the hateful rhetoric directed towards them during the election season with Trump at one point calling for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims in the country. However, in his thanksgiving message, Trump said it was his prayer that Americans begin to heal their divisions and move forward as one country.
Meanwhile, the Southern Poverty Law Center said it has documented just over 700 incidents of hateful harassment since the election. Patch has also reported on numerous incidents motivated by hate and racism since the election.
In response to the spike in anti-Muslim incidents, CAIR has called for stepped up law enforcement and has advised members of the Muslim community to be vigilant. The civil rights group is asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report online.
Image via Google Street View of Islamic Center of Claremont