Religious leaders in California are calling for a police investigation after identical letters were sent to local mosques hailing President-elect Donald Trump and calling for death to Muslims.
The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement asking for increased protection after the hate-filled letters were discovered at the Islamic centers of Long Beach and Claremont as well as a mosque in San Jose.
The handwritten and photocopied letters, received over the course of the week, were signed by “Americans for a Better Way.” They call Muslims “a vile and filthy people” who “worship the devil” and evoke Trump.
“There’s a new sheriff in town — President Donald Trump. He’s going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And, he’s going to start with you Muslims,” the letters read. “He’s going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.”
CAIR leaders in San Francisco and Los Angeles didn’t initially want to bring the letters into the public spotlight to avoid copycats, but they acknowledged the need for police intervention once the diatribe was sent to a number of jurisdictions across the state, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“We urge local law enforcement authorities to work with Muslim community leaders to ensure the safety of all houses of worship,” CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo said in a statement. “Our state’s political and religious leaders need to speak out against the mainstreaming of Islamophobia that we are witnessing in California and nationwide.”
Though Trump has said he isn’t aware of campaigns across the country to intimidate and hurt Muslims since his victory, the problem is rampant.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked more than 700 acts of this kind of bias intimidation and harassment targeting Muslims, blacks, Latinos, immigrants and LGBTQ people since Election Day, though not every incident has been independently verified. The Huffington Post’s Christopher Mathias has identified at least 13 incidents in which Muslims have been attacked, harassed or threatened in Trump’s name.
San Jose police are reportedly investigating the letters. It wasn’t immediately clear whether police departments across the state would ramp up security in response to CAIR’s statement.
CAIR urges Muslim community members to report any incidents to police and to the organization’s civil rights department by calling 202-742-6420 or by filing a report online.