A series of anti-Muslim hate crimes, including racist graffiti and threatening letters have been reported to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Chicago, officials confirmed on Friday.
CAIR, a Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, said at least four “disturbing” hate incidents were reported in the Chicago area in February.
The organization said their Chicago office received multiple complaints from parents about “Islamophobic and racist hate graffiti” at a south suburban public high school.
The group alleges threats were scrawled on stalls in the boys’ bathroom at Sandburg High School, including messages that read “All Islam will be killed in this school” and “Kill the Arabs.”
The threats were initially reported to CAIR on Feb. 5 and a letter was sent to the school on Feb. 6 “demanding a full investigation,” officials said in a release.
School officials said the school was placed on a soft lockdown Feb. 6 and the school used a pass restriction the following week to “minimize student movement during class time.”
“A phone call and email were sent to families information them of the graffiti and notifying them of a soft lockdown,” a district spokesperson told NBC.
District officials in Orland Park say police have been working with them since January to investigate two incidents reported at the school.
“Our paramount concern is for safety of all students, staff and faculty. We requested that the threat be taken seriously, particularly given its specificity, like any other death threat, and for parents to be updated on investigation progress, staff training, and increased security precautions taken,” CAIR-Chicago Attorney Rabya Khan said in a statement.
Parents say the threats are alarming.
“I thought I was going to be able to raise [my daughter] in a safe area, and I’m scared to her to school everyday,” said Leena Yousef.
CAIR also claims the American Muslim Community Organization, a new mosque in Lake in the Hills in McHenry County, reported a threatening letter to their office on Feb. 6.
The letter talked about shooting and bombing people at the mosque, calling them “slime bags” and telling them to “keep you (sic) eyes open,” according to CAIR.
“The rise in hate incidents in the Chicagoland area over the past few weeks is an alarming development that we have seen mirrored in other parts of the country,” Ahmed Rehab, the executive director of CAIR-Chicago said in a statement. “In all cases, the misguided hate messages and death threats target innocent individuals that have nothing to do with news headlines people may be reacting to. The President’s recent remarks about American Muslims are important and timely, and we need to see more politicians including Illinois politicians speak up for sanity.”
The latest incident came in the form of a phone call to CAIR’s Chicago office, the group said.
Last week, a Palos Park woman driving in Islamic attire claimed she was targeted.
“A south suburban woman in Islamic attire alleges she was, while she was driving, another car pulled up and a man started yelling profanities and pointed a gun at her,” said Rehab.
CAIR said it was working to confirm the woman’s claims. The Cook County Sheriff’s office said a man was arrested in the incident and charged with aggravated assault and reckless driving.
Police in Orland Park and Lake in the Hills did not immediately return NBCChicago’s request for comment on the incidents, but CAIR claims they were reported to both police and the FBI.
The FBI Chicago said it is “aware of these incidents” but could not immediately confirm specifics on whether or not they are investigating. FBI Chicago said it has coordinated with local law enforcement agencies to determine the “appropriate investigating agency.”