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Phoenix civil rights group calls on FBI to investigate threatening letters

PHOENIX — A civil rights group has turned to the FBI for help in investigating threatening letters sent to two Valley mosques, one of which was the place of worship for suspects in the Garland, Texas shooting.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said one of its lawyers spoke with an FBI agent about the letter that was mailed over the weekend to the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix.

The letters were directed toward Muslim religious leaders, or imams, from a group called “Patriotic Friends,” and made a number of threats to kill the imams and their families, according to a press release.

CAIR-AZ Chairman Imraan Siddiqi said the letters should be investigated seriously by the FBI based on their content.

“These letters clearly constitute threats of domestic terrorism targeting a religious minority,” he said in a press release. “(They) should be labeled as such and investigated accordingly by Arizona law enforcement authorities and the FBI.”

The Phoenix mosque was the former worship place of Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, the two suspects involved in the May 4 shooting at a Texas cartoon contest, which featured cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

The advocacy group’s Arizona chapter said an identical letter also was sent to the Islamic Community Center of Tempe.

The Phoenix FBI office could not be reached for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.