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Awlaki Mosques Subjected to Frequent Threats | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Abdelillah Dribigi, chief of security at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., outside the mosque after Friday prayers on March 3. Washington Post

Washington-Within the past two weeks, Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church reported three times it had received threats.

The first threat was through an audio record sent to mosque’s phone, the second was sent in an email and the third was through a pig drawn on the mosque’s wall with this written phrase, “KILL ALL MUSLIMS.”

Johari Abdul-Malik, an imam in the mosques, told Washington Post on Monday that “There’s a climate that says, ‘That’s okay, that’s acceptable now.’”

“And although most callers will never act on their words, one must always consider the possibility that someone will,” Johari said.

Dar al-Hijrah’s Lead Imam Shaker Elsayed said that the harassment of American Jews is a bellwether of how bad things have gotten.

“The Jewish community has been here for centuries, and if they’re being attacked, we shouldn’t feel safe at all,” he said.

Abdul-Malik brought Paul Abbate, the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, up to the podium after a Friday sermon and clapped him on the back.

“You see all these people in suits?” he said, smiling at the rows of silent congregants on the carpet. “They’re not here to arrest you. They’re my friends.”

“The essence of our mission is to keep people safe,” Abbate said.

“And we do that fairly and equally for everyone under the Constitution of the United States.”

Washington Post describes the mosques as one of the largest and most politically active mosques in the country.

So, too, is the conspiracy website that describes the mosque as a front for terrorists, and the blog post by a man who claims to have conducted “researches” at the mosque and uncovered “violent materials.”

Dar al-Hijrah has fought for 15 years to scrub its legacy after FBI agents found that two of the 9/11 hijackers, as well as Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, had worshiped there, the newspaper noted.

The imam at the time, Anwar al-Awlaki, left the mosque and went on to become a proponent of extremist ideology from a hideout in Yemen; he was later killed in a US drone strike.