Langley, B.C., mosque increasing security after receiving threatening letter
A Metro Vancouver mosque has received a disturbing letter containing references to Hitler and the Ku Klux Klan, and threatening violence.
The letter was received in the mail last Thursday, but the Langley Islamic Centre only shared a photo of it in a Facebook post Tuesday evening.
“We are shaken by a deeply concerning violent threat that was directed towards our beautiful community in Langley,” the post says. “The letter received…is meant to directly threaten members of the Langley Muslim community. The letter clearly stated a reference to the Christchurch Mosque Attack.”
Fifty-one Muslims were murdered, and 40 more injured when a lone gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March of 2019.
“Absolutely the community is in shock, but it has brought us together and it’s allowed to us to reflect on the fact that these threats are real,” said Fawad Kalsi, the centre’s Imam.
The letter came via Canada Post and is made up of text cut from newspapers and magazines affixed to a sheet of paper.
“You have two months to shut ths (sic) place down and leave,” it begins, before referencing the Australian man convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the Christchurch massacre.
The mosque has turned the letter over to Langley RCMP who say the threat is being taken very seriously.
Local investigators are working with the B.C. Hate Crime Unit and INSET, a national team responsible for investigating threats related to terrorism and extremism.
The RCMP also says it is working to ensure the safety of people attending the mosque.
“Whether that means additional officers, additional patrols, attending services — basically everything is on the table,” said Cpl. Holly Largy.
The letter comes almost three months after a van attack in London, Ont., when four members of a Muslim family died after being run down in early June.
A nine-year-old boy was also hit and is the only member of his family to survive what police and Crown prosecutors have deemed an intentional act.
“We’re currently in the midst of a crisis — one in which hate, systemic racism and Islamophobia are on the rise,” said Fatema Abdalla, communications coordinator for the National Council of Canadian Muslims. “And so there is this need for systemic racism, for hate, for Islamophobia to spoken about by every single one of our politicians today. And we need to come up with a national plan against white supremacy.”
Police say the letter is being investigated as a possible hate crime, and anyone with information is asked to call Langley RCMP or CrimeStoppers.