Muslims face threats of violence, harassment in wake of Paris attacks
As Friday’s deadly terror attacks in Paris unfolded, Muslims around the world reacted in horror — and braced for threats, harassment and violence at home.
On Saturday night, a fire broke out at a mosque in Ontario. No one was in it at the time, and despite the fact that fire officials there ruled the blaze an act of arson, the president of the local Muslim association believes it was “clearly a hate crime.”
Earlier in the day, a mosque in St. Petersburg, Fla., reported it received a voicemail that threatened to “firebomb you and shoot whoever is there in the head.”
“I don’t care if they are f***ing 2 years old or 100,” the caller said. “I am over your f***ing bull**** and our whole country is.”
A similar threat was made to another Florida mosque, and the caller spoke of “shooting people at will.”
The FBI said it is investigating the incidents, and St. Petersburg police have increased patrols in the area around the mosque.
“When I first heard the voicemail, I was in shock,” Hatem Jaber, a volunteer at the St. Petersburg mosque, told a local television station.
Perhaps he shouldn’t have been.
In the weeks following the deadly attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine, France’s National Observatory Against Islamophobia saw a 281 percent increase in anti-Muslim incidentscompared to the previous year.
“When this horrific thing happened on Friday, all the Muslims I know went
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