The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) said Wednesday (June 28) it received a letter threatening extermination, torture, and rape just hours before receiving an award from the New York City Council for the civil rights organization's work helping hate crime victims, mobilizing against President Trump's 'Muslim Bans,' and fighting for social justice.
CAIR-NY says the NYPD is investigating the threatening letter as a potential hate crime.
The New York City Council award was presented to CAIR-NY at a celebration of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
"We are humbled by the recognition of the New York City Council for our civil rights work, and simultaneously determined to forge ahead despite the deplorable threat we received," said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher.
"This threat will not intimidate us or detract from our unshakeable resolve to ensure American Muslims and all targeted communities can practice their faith freely as ensured by our laws."
"We're outraged to see our staff targeted, but we know we're just one of many other Muslim institutions that have been threatened or attacked in recent months," said CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn.
"This threat and the threats against other Muslim New Yorkers, show why recognition from the City Council is so vital to our mission. As long as our Muslim brothers and sisters are being attack, all New Yorkers must come together to vocally support their right to practice their faith. Despite this threat, we remain committed to the proposition that no New Yorker should have to choose between their religion and their safety, and we're honored to have the City Council recognize the importance of our work to make that a reality."
It appears that the threatening letter originated in the United Kingdom, and it bore similarities to recent threats against New York's Masjid Manhattan. According to police, the letter received last week by Masjid Manhattan threatened a massacre "on a scale never seen before." The NYPD is currently investigating the threat.
The threat against CAIR came days after the Supreme Court partially unblocked President Trump's ban on visitors' from six Muslim countries - Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Sudan, Yemen.
President Donald Trump was quick to celebrate the Supreme Court verdict by saying that the court's unanimous decision was "a clear victory for our national security". "It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective," he said in a statement. "As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.
During the 2016 presidential race, Trump campaigned for "a total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States. The travel ban was a signature policy of Trump's first few months as president.
There has been substantial increase in hate crimes against Muslims since President Donald Trump became president in January this year.
Since the beginning of the year, CAIR has called for investigations of possible bias motives for dozens of other incidents targeting mosques in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Texas, and a number of other states. By comparison, in the January-March period in 2016, CAIR recorded 19 such incidents.
CAIR-NY recently released a report showing a 560 percent increase in 2016 anti-Muslim incidents in New York compared to the previous year. The same report showed that more than half of 2016 anti-Muslim hate crimes in New York occurred in the last 7 and a half weeks of the year, following Donald Trump's election as President.
According to the former Congresswoman, Barbra Lee, Donald Trump rode racism and fear all the way to the White House, and since his inauguration he has doubled down on his bigoted rhetoric. He's given members of the alt-right a seat at the table by appointing Steve Bannon as chief strategist and Jeff Sessions to head the Justice Department.