Mosques in the New Jersey area have been receiving threats in the wake of this week’s terrorist attack in New York City, the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported.
Islamic Center of Passaic County, a very influential mosque in the region, has received at least eight threats.
The threats have forced the Islamic center to increase security for their over 25,000 congregants.
Another New Jersey mosque, Masjid Omar Mosque, has also received threats after rumors that Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, the suspect in the terrorist attack, may have gone to worship there, NBC news reported.
Saipov, who had pledged allegiance to ISIS terror group, killed eight people on Tuesday when he ran a rented truck into pedestrians in Lowe Manhattan.
CAIR’s New Jersey chapter said in a statement on Thursday that they have called on federal authorities to investigate the threats as hate crimes.
“People here feel they will be blamed as a religion and as a people. Because this guy was a Muslim, Muslims will be blamed anywhere and everywhere,” said Imam Mohammad Qatanani, spiritual leader of the Islamic Center of Passaic County.
“They say they're going to kill us, they're going to burn the place down, all using extremely foul language,” said the mosque's president, Omar Awad. “They say, ‘We're going to come rip your ... beard off.’”