(CAIR)

Muslim civil rights group's D.C. office evacuated by police after receiving "foreign substance" in mail

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says it considers this a "hate crime"; the FBI is investigating


Ben Norton
December 11, 2015 1:15AM (UTC)

Police evacuated the Washington, D.C. office of the leading Muslim civil rights organization the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Thursday afternoon after a "foreign substance" was received in the mail.

Reuters confirmed the evacuation.

CAIR spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper told Salon that a preliminary investigation by the FBI found that the substance did not immediately appear to be harmful, but further, more extensive tests need to be conducted.

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Hooper said the letter with the foreign substance "did contain a hate message."

"Clearly this was a targeted hate crime," the CAIR spokesperson told Salon. "Somebody sent something to create fear and intimidation through sending a foreign substance."

"It's definitely connected to the rise in anti-Muslim hate in our society, fueled by people like Donald Trump and Ben Carson," Hooper added, referring to the Republican presidential candidates who have proposed anti-Muslim policies.

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By around 3 p.m., Hooper said the building was deemed safe, and CAIR staff re-entered.

"We receive hate messages daily because of our advocacy on behalf of the American Muslim community," remarked Staff Attorney Maha Sayed in a statement. "It's frightening to experience the hate manifest itself to such a real level. This will not deter us from continuing to protect the civil rights and liberties of all Americans."

CAIR posted a video on its Instagram account, showing the office with fire trucks outside.

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CAIR Capitol Hill office evacuated by police after "foreign substance" received in mail.

A video posted by @cair_national on

The civil rights organization also posted photos of the evacuation to its Facebook account. The photos show authorities inspecting the office in chemical suits.

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This article will be updated as soon as more information is available.

CAIR Accuses Trump of


Ben Norton

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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