Handwritten letter causes concerns for Muslim community

DES MOINES - The Muslim community in the Metro is pretty shaken up Monday evening after a threatening handwritten letter was delivered to the Islamic Center of Des Moines over the weekend. A copy of a handwritten letter was found Sunday morning in the Islamic Center of Des Moines' office.

The letter was forwarded to both the mosque president and spokesperson. Esam Boraey. And he says he never thought this kind of thing would happen in Iowa.

"It was shocking for me that this, such a thing exists in Iowa. I've never believed that would be in Iowa in any case," said Islamic Center of Des Moines spokesperson, Esam Boraey.

The mosque received a letter about five years ago, but the verbiage was not near as threatening. 

"There's a new sheriff in town--President Donald Trump. He's going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And he's going to start with you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews."

The letter was addressed to the "Children of Satan' and signed by "Americans for a Better Way".

"I just don't understand how you believe in America, American values and you think Hitler is a good example to follow," said Boraey.

It wasn't just this mosque that received the letter, others across the U.S. found the same one.

"That gave us the feeling that it's an organized effort and we're a little bit afraid that something will be organized or something is going on now."

The FBI met with the group Monday to start their investigation and the Des Moines Police say this looks to be a high priority case.

"The intended victim here, any type of harassment or any type of threats that are there are most likely going to make the jump to a hate crime investigation right away," said Des Moines Police PIO, Sgt. Paul Parizek.

Boraey says the FBI provided some steps on how to deal with scenarios like this in the future. The mosque will also be going through their security system to pass along to the FBI. The person, or persons behind the letter could be facing felony level charges.

The Des Moines Area Religious Council  released a statement Monday saying in part, "We condemn any and all acts of religious hatred and intolerance, and we call on our member congregations to join us in doing so. Freedom of worship is one of our essential rights as Americans."

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