Anti-Muslim threats in Maine investigated as hate crime

AP News
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Posted: Aug 18, 2016 5:22 PM

WESTBROOK, Maine (AP) — A civil rights group is calling on authorities to look into written threats against the Islamic community in Maine.

Typewritten notes urging violence against Muslims were discovered Wednesday at a Westbrook apartment complex, where several Iraqis live. At least four paper notes with the phrase "All Muslims are Terrorists should be Killed" were found on the ground and a car windshield.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations on Thursday called on local, state and federal authorities to hold whoever made the threats accountable.

"Families that were forced to flee Iraq because of such threats should not be subjected to them in America," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

Westbrook police began investigating Wednesday and said they are treating the threats as a hate crime. They stressed, however, that they don't have evidence of any immediate threat to any resident. They said they are taking the matter seriously and set up a meeting Thursday evening with Iraqi community members to address their concerns.

"The people who have come forward have all been Iraqi," Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts said at a news conference Wednesday. "We have done a canvas of the complex and of those people that we've made contact with, only the Iraqi community has any information in relation to the threats."

The threats came two days after federal court documents unsealed in Portland revealed that former Maine resident Adnan Fazeli was fighting for the Islamic State group when he was killed last year in Lebanon, the Portland Press Herald reported. Fazeli was an Iranian who came to Maine as a refugee in 2009, and had lived in the Westbrook apartment complex at one time.

Police said they don't know if the threats are connected to the recent media coverage on Fazeli.

"Other than the timing, we have no information other than that," Roberts told reporters.

Police had no suspects and were urging anyone with information about the notes to come forward.

"There's no evidence that there's a significant threat to people's safety," Roberts said. "Other than the strips of paper that were found with this one message on them there is no evidence that there's anybody lying in wait."