Thursday, May 03, 2007

Muslim leader in Florida gets mailed death threat

Ruth Morris, South Florida
Sun-Sentinel, 5/3/07

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/broward/sfl-cletter03may03,0,6579231.story

The head of Florida's most prominent Muslim group told the FBI on Wednesday that he had received a death threat.

Altaf Ali, executive director of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he received the threat calling Islam "the religion of Satan" in the mail Monday.

The two-page letter came in an envelope addressed to him in large letters, he said. Inside, a handwritten message read, "Death to Islam," and called Ali "a walking dead man." It also included a cartoon picturing nuclear bombs raining down on mosques in Medina and Mecca, the two holiest cities in Islam, he said.

Ali said he did not report the threat until he talked to his wife and realized how frightened she was."It's only when my wife became alarmed that I saw this was more important," Ali said. "She said, 'Listen, can you put up the hurricane shutters?'"Two FBI agents arrived at his office Wednesday morning, he said.

Judy Orihuela, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Miami field office, confirmed the bureau was investigating the death threat. "We want to double-check to see if there are similar letters being sent," she said.

Ali said the cartoon and the letter's text closely resembled a letter sent to the director of CAIR's Michigan branch this week. Last year, the council reported a rise in discrimination and hate crimes against Muslims in the United States, and Ali wrote in a recent South Florida Sun-Sentinel opinion piece that vandalism against South Florida Islamic centers has surged. (MORE)

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