Detroit FBI Vows to Protect Targets of 'Misguided Retaliatory Threats'

November 17, 2015, 4:08 PM by  Allan Lengel

In response to recent anti-Muslim threats in Dearborn, in wake of the Paris attacks, the Detroit FBI said Tuesday that it was working with local law enforcement to protect people from "misguided retaliatory threats."

FBI's David Gelios

“The FBI Detroit will aggressively work with our state and local partners to investigate and bring to justice those who would make violent threats against others in response to, or in retribution for, the terrorist attacks conducted in Paris last week,” David P. Gelios, head of the Detroit FBI, said in a statement.

“Violent extremism in any form is a risk to public safety and our way of life in America."

The statements come in wake of some threats on social media locally and around the country.

In a high-profile case locally,  Sarah Beebe, 28, a Michigan veteran made a statement on Twitter over the weekend: 

"Dearborn, MI, has the highest Muslim population in the United Sates. Let's fuck that place up and send a message to ISIS. We're coming."

She later apologized, telling WXYZ: 

"I can't even begin to say how sorry I am for the problems I caused in regards to a hateful and very irresponsible tweet posted in response to the Paris attacks. I am sorry to the entire city of Dearborn and anyone who was affected by my ignorance and my post on Twitter."

Jill Washburn, a spokesperson for the local FBI, told Deadline Detroit that law enforcement has interviewed the woman and has yet to determine whether any charges will be filed. Washburn said it was unclear how many other local threats have been made. 

Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman in Washington for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said Tuesday afternoon that there has been a spike in anti-Islamic threats in the country and the organization issued a warning to the Islamic communities to be careful. 

Detroit U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade says threats are taken seriously.

"Violent extremism in any form is a risk to public safety and our way of life in America," McQuade said in a statement. "We take seriously all threats of violence against any of the residents of our community, and will prosecute those that meet the legal elements of a criminal offense." 

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad did not immediately return a phone call for comment. 

Cair issued a press release later in the day that said:

Last night, CAIR issued a community safety alert after a Texas mosque had its door covered in feces and pages of the Quran were thrown to the ground covered with feces.

In that alert, CAIR cited anti-Muslim incidents reported since the Paris attacks, including terror threats to Florida mosques, vandalism at a Nebraska mosque, shots fired at a Florida Muslim family's home, hate graffiti targeting a Connecticut Muslim student, an arson attack on a Canadian mosque, a tweet threatening Michigan Muslims, and innumerable hate messages sent online and by phone.

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