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Investigation sought into threats sent to 2 Arizona mosques

Civil rights group seeks FBI investigation into threatening letter sent to 2 Arizona mosques

Investigation sought into threats sent to 2 Arizona mosques

PHOENIX (AP) -- A civil rights group has asked the FBI to investigate a threatening letter sent to a Phoenix mosque that was once a place of worship for suspects in a shooting three weeks ago at a Texas cartoon contest featuring cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations says one of its lawyers spoke with an FBI agent about the letter that was mailed over the weekend to the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, where suspects Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi used to worship.

An identical letter was sent to the Islamic Community Center of Tempe, said Kristy Sabbah, operations coordinator for the advocacy group's Arizona chapter.

Simpson and Soofi opened fire on May 3 on an unarmed security officer stationed outside the contest, authorities said. The security guard was wounded in the leg before the gunmen were killed at the scene.

Simpson attended the Phoenix mosque for about 10 years, but he quit a few months before the shooting. Soofi infrequently attended the mosque and stopped about a year ago.

The letter opens with a reference to Simpson's and Soofi's connection to the Phoenix mosque, threatens the lives of the mosque's president and his family and makes a disparaging comment about the Prophet Muhammad.

The FBI office in Phoenix didn't immediately return a message Tuesday.

Usama Shami, president of Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, said the Phoenix mosque gets threats from time to time but that the letter addressed to him contains threats that were more violent in nature.

"We are not educating people to do violent acts, so why are we being held responsible in the minds of some people?" Shami said.

Updated : 2021-09-23 08:42 GMT+08:00