Islamic Center of Lexington receives email threat
Officials with the Islamic Center of Lexington reported an email threat that was sent to the center Friday morning.
Imam Mahmoud Shalash told WKYT they received the threat before noon. The email said: "I'm going to kill everyone I [sic] there you Muslim f**ks. Salabis is coming for you."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to step up protection for the Kentucky mosque. Lexington police took the report Friday afternoon and it also was reported to federal Homeland Security.
Lexington police say the case is being handled by the robbery/homicide unit. As of Friday afternoon, no arrests were made and the sergeant said detectives were still looking into the matter.
"This clear terroristic death threat targeting a house of worship must be treated seriously by local, state and federal law enforcement authorities and the perpetrator should be apprehended and brought to justice," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "Our nation's leaders must send a clear message challenging the rising Islamophobia that leads to such threats."
The threat comes days after CAIR released a report on "the unprecedented backlash and discrimination targeting the nation's Muslim community since the November 13 terror attacks in Paris."
CAIR said it has received more reports about acts of "Islamophobic discrimination, intimidation, threats, and violence targeting American Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslim) and Islamic institutions in the past week-and-a-half than during any other limited period of time since the 9/11 terror attacks."
CAIR attributes this spike in anti-Muslim incidents to the Paris attacks and to the mainstreaming of Islamophobia by political candidates and lawmakers in the run-up to the 2016 general election, especially comments made by Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson.
Last Saturday, Trump said that he saw footage of thousands of people -- a heavy Arab population in New Jersey -- “cheering” after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Two days later, Carson said he saw video footage of it, too. Carson's campaign later apologized, saying that footage was from the Middle East, not New Jersey.
Trump has been widely criticized for his comments, and fact-checkers have not been able to substantiate his claims, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. CNN has said there are no reports or videos that support Trump's comments.