On Thursday, offices of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Washington D.C. and Santa Clara, California reported receiving envelopes containing suspicious substances.
The Washington office found a “white, powdery substance” inside the envelope, according to The San Francisco Chronicle; the San Jose Mercury News reported that field tests confirmed the substance was not dangerous. As of Thursday night, authorities had not confirmed what substance was inside the envelope at the Santa Clara office.
Zahra Billoo, director of CAIR’s Bay Area chapter, intoned, “We’re seeing an increase in attacks on the Muslim community and threats on the Muslim community. It’s unfortunate that someone would attempt to target a civil rights organization.” Maha Sayed, a civil rights attorney for CAIR, echoed, “We receive hate messages daily because of our advocacy on behalf of the American Muslim community. It’s frightening to experience the hate manifest itself to such a real level. This will not deter us from continuing to protect the civil rights and liberties of all Americans.”
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad blamed Donald Trump, explaining, “The number of recent threats have gone up significantly since Trump’s comments, San Bernardino shootings, and Paris attacks.” If one had to determine which two of those three might be larger factors, Trump’s comments would rank last, but the narrative must be maintained.
Billoo cited one incident near Lake Chabot Regional Park where a state prison worker confronted two Muslim men, complaining, “Until last week I was able to say there have been no major incidents in the Bay Area, and now we have two in one week. We won’t let intimidation or threats scare us off from protecting the liberties and values that we pride ourselves on as Americans.”
CAIR has been designated a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates and was named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a funding operation linked to the terrorist group Hamas.”