Imam: There’s an atmosphere of intolerance that says, ‘That’s okay, that’s acceptable now’

Source: The Washington Post

March 10

The FBI was back for the third time in two weeks, but agents didn’t have much news to offer.

They were still looking into the threats that had arrived in the mosque’s voice mail two weeks earlier. And they were still looking into the newer drawing of a pig and a mosque that had come in the mail, a rendering so childish and crude that despite the accompanying message — “KILL ALL MUSLIMS” — one of the mosque’s security guards said he couldn’t help but laugh when he saw it.

But you can’t take chances with these things, the mosque’s leaders said. Not in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and certainly not now, when many Muslims feel that suspicion — or even harassment — of those who practice their religion is officially condoned in the United States.

“There’s a climate that says, ‘That’s okay, that’s acceptable now,’ ” said Johari Abdul-Malik, an imam at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Fairfax County, Va., and the mosque’s outreach director. And although most callers will never act on their words, one must always consider the possibility that someone will.

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