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Law Enforcement And Muslim American Leaders Speak Out Against Anti-Muslim Messages

Nick Ut / AP

Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Michael Downing talks with Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini, founding Imam of the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County at a news conference in Los Angeles Monday, Nov. 28, 2016.

Nick Ut / AP

Law enforcement officials stood with Muslim leaders in Los Angeles Monday to repudiate threatening letters sent to several mosques in southern and northern California. Muslim leaders invited those with "fears" about Islam to come to the mosque and discuss them.

In a letter to the FBI, The Council on American Islamic Relations reported five mosques in California and one mosque in Georgia have received letters threatening genocide against Muslims in the U.S.

According to CAIR, the handwritten letters warn Muslims to "pack your bags and get out of dodge" because President-elect Trump is "going to cleanse America and make it shine again."

LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing says the LAPD is investigating the source of two anti-Muslim letters sent to mosques in the Los Angeles area. Downing says this is not a hate crime investigation because the letters lack a specific threat showing "intent and capability."

"But in these types of cases it's important for us to learn who sent them, " Downing says. "And are there other crimes that he or she committed. And if not, maybe it's an opportunity for us to provide education, inspiration, maybe even - if there's consent - an intervention. "

Downing says intervention could come in the form of dialogue with American Muslims.

At the news conference Imam Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini echoed the call for dialogue. He invited Americans with "suspicions" about Islam to come visit his mosque. 

"We invite them and let's sit and talk, " al-Qazwini said. "We are Americans! This is our country, this is our future. This is the land of our children. And we have a moral duty to protect America, as I said, not just against hate crime but against terrorism too."

Addressing the letter writer directly, Imam al-Qazwini said, "we may hate the act but we don't hate the person."

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