Since late February, two mosques and four Islamic centers in New Jersey have received letters with crude drawings of individuals being beheaded from an unidentified perpetrator using the pseudonym “Muslim Slayer.” These acts are occurring against the backdrop of national threats against the Muslim community, including arson attacks and vandalism, and an increase in bias crime reporting.
- Each letter consisted of decapitation illustrations and derogatory statements, including “you and your filthy kind will be beheaded” and “butcher all Muslims watch them scream in agony.” Five other states, including New York, have reported similar occurrences.
- In May, authorities released surveillance footage of an unidentified subject setting fire to a mosque near Tampa, Florida. The motive remains unclear and the investigation is ongoing. In October 2016, three members of a Kansas militia plotted to bomb an apartment complex housing a mosque. Additionally, the 2015 FBI bias crime data, released in November 2016, revealed that while anti-Muslim hate crimes made up 22 percent of all incidents, this figure represented a 67-percent increase from 2014.
Since January, NJOHSP has received 15 suspicious activity reports (SARs) impacting the Muslim community in the State. In addition to the letters, nine other SARs were reported, including suspicious persons and trespassing at mosques and Islamic centers.
- NJOHSP leverages SARs data to identify threats targeting our faith-based communities. We encourage partners to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement and by calling 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- NJOHSP has created a Religious Facilities Assessment, which offers faith-based institutions unclassified analysis on key threats and mitigation strategies. All resources can be accessed through NJOHSP’s website at www.njohsp.gov/interfaith.