- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

NEW CITY, N.Y. (AP) - A suburban New York sheriff said Friday he has contacted federal authorities to investigate a threatening photo of a beheading sent to an Orthodox Jewish lawmaker.

Rockland County legislator Aron Wieder reported earlier this week that he received a crudely altered photo showing his head on top of the body of a victim of a recent beheading by Islamic State extremists, said Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco.

“This is a threat against an elected official who happens to be of the Jewish faith,” Falco said, noting he has contacted the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the FBI. “I take it as a terroristic threat.”

FBI spokesman Peter Donald confirmed investigators were working with the sheriff’s office on the case.

The photo is labeled with some Arabic writing and Wieder’s name, although his first name was misspelled as Aaron.

Wieder said he opened the envelope Monday during a legislative session in the hamlet of New City, northwest of New York City, and took it directly to Falco, who was at the meeting.

The lawmaker said he was “very concerned” and was making sure to lock his doors. “Even if we don’t know why, this is clearly someone who is trying to be intimidating,” he said.

Wieder said the envelope had a return address in Monsey - a heavily Orthodox village in the county - and a name he did not recognize, Moshe Muhammad. There are no telephone listings for a Moshe Muhammad in Monsey.

“We are shocked and appalled at the horrific letter mailed to Mr. Weider,” said Evan R. Bernstein, New York regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. “This was a threating and hateful act designed to intimidate a Jewish elected official as well as members of the broader community in Rockland County. We hope that the authorities will take this mail threat seriously and identify those responsible for this act as quickly as possible.”

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