- Associated Press - Saturday, March 26, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A Muslim civil rights and advocacy group is asking officials to pursue a hate crimes investigation after a threatening email was sent to the Islamic Center of Omaha, which has been the target of several recent acts of vandalism.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has asked the FBI and local police to investigate the email, which was sent the day after Tuesday’s deadly attacks in Brussels. The email reads, “Your so-called peaceful religion just killed more innocent people. We think it is now time to fight back starting with you. Believe it. See you in hell.”

Mohammed Rasheed, a spokesman for the Omaha center, told the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/1Rsq5Qn ) that he and other center members are concerned about the threat.

He condemned the Brussels bombings and other attacks for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

“A lot of people are getting killed, including Muslims,” Rasheed said. “They are killing humanity, basically everybody, and we condemn that.”

In August, a large rock was thrown through the center’s glass door, causing about $400 in damage. Two months later, security cameras at the center showed a man in a mask throwing another large rock at a window.

In November, following the attacks in Paris, someone spray-painted a likeness of the Eiffel Tower on an outside wall of the center. And in January, rocks were again thrown at the center’s door and raw bacon was wrapped around the handle of an exterior door.

The Quran, the holy book of Islam, prohibits Muslims from eating pork, and pigs and pork products have been used to taunt or offend Muslims.

The FBI and Omaha police did not return messages left by the World-Herald on Friday.

Rasheed encouraged people to visit the center to learn more about Islam.

“This violence is not part of Islam,” he said.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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