Barbara Ferguson, Arab News
Wednesday 31 January 2007
Last Update 31 January 2007 12:00 am
WASHINGTON, 31 January 2007 — Some people will use any tactic to spread hatred and fear. The latest scheme involves an anti-Muslim flier left on the front doors of homes in a Florida suburb.
And now the FBI is being asked to investigate.
Fliers recently distributed in a Tampa, Florida, neighborhood accuses Muslims of stockpiling anthrax in America for years and smuggling suitcase-sized nuclear bombs into the country across the Mexican border.
If the worst happened, the pamphlet asked, “Are you prepared for eternity? If this tragedy happened today, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven?”
The anonymous flier also encourages readers to find salvation by believing in Jesus.
Joel Harper, a disabled Army veteran, told the St. Petersburg Times that the hate-filled message upset him and his wife.
When they found the pamphlet at their door, they “jumped into their car to try to find the 20-something-year-old they had seen with a stack of the yellow fliers but had no luck,’” Harper said.
“’We’re having enough trouble around the world with hatred and stuff. They’re trying to scare people to Jesus, to church, instead of doing it the right way.’”
The Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has asked religious leaders to repudiate the door-to-door distribution of anti-Muslim hate fliers.
“We are disturbed about this because it is anonymous and because of the impact it may have,” Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the CAIR Tampa chapter, said in a telephone interview.
“We’ve asked religious leaders statewide to condemn this form of hatred and to speak up against it, and to be vigilant in reporting this form of hatred in the name of religion.
Bedier said that since the leaflets are anonymous, CAIR is seeking the help of law enforcement, including the FBI, to track down the group behind these hate pamphlets.
“The public should know who’s distributing the material, as they could be a potential threat in the future.”