June 22, 2018
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Westbrook police investigating written threats against Muslims

By Jake Bleiberg and Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff
Updated:

WESTBROOK, Maine — City police are investigating written threats against Muslims discovered Wednesday morning.

An Iraqi resident came to the Westbrook police station around 10:20 a.m. reporting that a piece of paper had been found in the Westbrook Pointe apartment complex with the threatening statement “All Muslims are Terrorists should be killed,” according to a statement from Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts.

Police are investigating the matter as a hate crime but have no evidence there is a significant threat to residents’ safety, she said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

When police went to the complex to investigate, officers found another piece of paper with the same threat on the ground, Roberts said.

The pieces of paper on which the threat was written are described as hand-cut strips, roughly 1½ to 2 inches in width and 8½ inches long, according to Roberts.

“Both of these pieces of evidence are in the possession of the Westbrook Police Department and will be processed for any evidence linking the paper to a suspect(s),” Roberts said in the statement.

Upon an inspection of the complex, it was discovered that two similar pieces of paper with the same typewritten threat had been found by Iraqi residents of the complex, Roberts said. However, the individuals who found them had not come forward to report the threats or the circumstances around them.

“We encourage these residents to contact Westbrook PD as soon as possible,” Roberts said. “The Westbrook Police Department takes these threats seriously. We are working with the property management of Westbrook Pointe, along with the Iraqi community, in attempts to identify the suspect(s) and return a sense of safety to our Iraqi community members.”

Roberts said there are no known suspects at this time and it is unknown if the threats are connected to the recent media coverage of Adnan Fazeli.

The Press Herald previously reported that Fazeli at one point lived in a building that’s part of that complex.

Aqeel Mohialdeen, publisher of Maine’s first Arabic language newspaper, lives in the complex and told BDN Portland that the notes were found under the windshield wipers of three or four cars owned by his Muslim neighbors.

Faysal Kalayas, 41, of Portland came to the complex after being informed of the threats by a friend. The former interpreter for the U.S. military in Iraq said these kinds of threats echoed the messages he received from people in his home country who were angry he was helping American forces.

“My family left Iraq because of threats like this,” he said. “It wakes up the trauma for people here.”

Anyone with information on the incident should call Westbrook police at 854-2531. The department’s tip line can be reached by calling 591-8117.

WGME contributed to this report.

 


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