BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Birmingham Islamic Society says it has reported a possible Islamic extremist to the FBI, according to the organization’s president.
Ashfaq Taufique says it happened about a week and a half ago.
He said several members of the local Muslim community were “friended” on social media by someone Taufique describes as “not known to our community.”
According to Taufique, that person sent a message to someone in the community. While he is unable to display the message, Taufique said the message read, at least in part, “We are at war, and we must stick together.”
“A statement like that can be interpreted in many ways,” Taufique said.
Taufique said he was “erring on the side of caution,” when he reported the threat to the FBI.
“It is part of my faith that I must report any — any actions that could be hurtful to my community, my community at large,” Taufique said.
The FBI can’t comment on active investigations, but agency spokesman Paul Daymond commended actions like Taufique’s.
“These situations that happened, like in San Bernardino or in Paris, raise awareness,” Daymond said. “These situations can happen anywhere, and we want people to be vigilant and remain vigilant.”
During an oval office address Sunday, President Barack Obama called on all Muslim Americans to take a more active role in fighting terrorism and extremism at home, but local Muslim leaders say they’ve been doing this for a while.
“That’s what America has taught me,” said Khaula Hadeed, the president of Alabama’s Council on American Islamic Relations. “Every single person is equal, not only under the law, but in the eyes of God.”
“It’s my obligation as a Muslim. This country has been good to me,” Taufique said. “We are probably the most important ally in this fight against extremism.”
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