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Suspect that threatened a local mosque may not be prosecuted

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) – A suspect, who left threatening phone messages on the answering machine of CAIR-STL, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, may not face criminal charges.  Faizen Syed, executive director for CAIR-STL, said the messages were not directed specifically at any one person.  That may make prosecution difficult.  For the most part, hate speech is legal in the U.S.

Syed said the FBI arrested a suspect Saturday afternoon.  The FBI would not confirm or deny an investigation is going on.

The caller, who identified himself as a former Marine, threatened to chop off Muslims’ heads if they came to his home in Byrnes Mill.  He left three voice mail messages Friday expressing anger over what happened in San Bernardino.

Syed, pointing to extremists from all religions, said it was time for moderates of all religions to “stand with each other in order to debunk and overcome their type of hateful message.”  He urged Muslims to attend religious services regularly at area Islamic Centers.  He said that is where the “moderate version of Islam” is taught and issues people may have in the U.S. can be handled.

He noted American Muslims frequently cooperate with local police.  “Many of the cases of foiled terrorist plots were foiled because American Muslims spoke out and contacted law enforcement,” Syed said.

CAIR did receive a call from a man also identifying himself as a U.S. Marine and a Christian who apologized for the threatening call.