A Northern Virginia mosque received a threatening voice mail message last week, apparently in retaliation for the mass shooting carried out by a Muslim couple in San Bernardino, Calif.
According to Imam Abu Nahidian, the religious leader at Manassas Mosque who reported the message to the Prince William County police, an anonymous caller who claimed to be a part of the Jewish Defense League threatened to kill members of his Muslim community in retaliation for the Dec. 2 mass shooting.
The JDL, founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1968, is listed by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
“We are checking if one Jew has been killed in California. You all will be sorry. You all will be killed,” Nahidian reported the caller saying.
Nahidian said he wished he could have talked to the caller to tell him that Islam is against killing innocent people and ask him why he is blaming all Muslims for the actions of the Islamic State, a terrorist group that he said he condemns. (Investigators in California have not tied the San Bernardino shooters to the Islamic State, although the woman, Tashfeen Malik, pledged allegiance to the leader of the group on Facebook.)
“Why are you considering [the Islamic State] as Muslim? Because the media says Islamic? That doesn’t make them Islamic,” said Nahidian.
“They are a terrorist group. Therefore, instead of saying Islamic State, say terrorist state.”
The ADL condemned the reported threat in a statement.
“Responding to the tragedy in San Bernardino with bigotry and intolerance betrays our values as a nation and only serves to illustrate the need to fight extremism in every form,” ADL Washington Regional Director David C. Friedman said.
In an email response, the Jewish Defense League said that it believed the incident to be a hoax, “as JDL members do not call mosques or instigate threats such as those which are claimed.”
Nahidian said he has no animosity toward Jews, calling the Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — “cousins” and saying that “there is no way that Abraham will be happy of the division of these groups. They are together.”
The mosque was vandalized last year, with eight windows defaced with spray paint and a glass door shattered.
Said Nahidian: “I feel sorry for the people that they are ignorant. That’s all I can say.”