Hartford Mosque Members Meet With Authorities Over Threat

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The Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford received a threatening phone call right after the massacre of worshipers at a mosque in New Zealand.

By Caitlin Burchill

Published Apr 19, 2019 at 8:11 PM | Updated at 11:27 PM EDT on Apr 19, 2019

Members of a mosque in Hartford are still reeling after a caller threatened to kill worshipers there last month.

The Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford received the phone call right after the massacre of worshipers at a mosque in New Zealand.

On Friday, members of the Hartford Police, the FBI and state, community and religious leaders gathered together at the mosque. The hope is to make worshipers feel more safe.

On March 24 around 4:30 a.m., a member of the Muhammad Islamic Center of Greater Hartford picked up a threatening phone call laced with racial slurs.

“When I saw the report. I got scared really. I get shocked. How in Hartford? Muhammad Mosque. They are friendly they are lovely. They help everyone,” said Ibrahim Aldbaan.

Aldabaan and his family are refugees from Syria.

They find comfort at the Muhammad Islamic Center of Hartford. But they were understandably frightened after learning about the early morning call to the mosque on March 24, laced with racial slurs and threats to burn down their house of worship.

Since that day, five families haven’t returned to the mosque out of fear.

“It was rough initially. Everyone was shocked,” said member Nancy Latif. “Nobody really knows why this happened and hopefully nothing will come of it.”

State Sen. Saud Anwar (D- East Hartford) led Friday’s press conference to try and make community members feel safer, and show that lots of groups stand united with their community.

“No one in our state should feel threatened to come to their place of worship ever,” Anwar said.

“It’s a matter of being an American that we will stand together with you,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said.

The mosque’s prayer leader says the Hartford Police Department has tried to make members feel more comfortable, but he’s frustrated with the FBI.

“I don’t see the same type of action being done on behalf of the Muslim community,” said Imam Kashmir Abdul-Karim.

The FBI says while they can’t give out more information, an investigation is underway.

“Although you may not see it out front, the FBI and state local and federal law enforcement are continuously working together you may not hear about it right away, but it’s not being ignored. I assure you. It’s not being ignored,” said FBI Outreach Specialist Charles Grady.

Police are aware of who made the call.

“We take all of this seriously as if it’s our own place of worship because it could very well be,” Grady said.

“It’s a problem and we want resolutions soon,” Abdul-Karim said.

Hartford Police say they have assigned additional officers on foot patrol in the area, and there have been no other threats to a house of worship in Hartford since that call. While officials say they know who made the call, it’s unclear if anyone has been arrested.

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This article originally appeared on https://www.nbcconnecticut.com