Call to St. Petersburg, Florida, mosque threatens fire bombing - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Call to St. Petersburg, Florida, mosque threatens fire bombing

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - As the world continues to pray for Paris in the wake of Friday's terror attacks, there are heightened security measures and new threats in Florida.

A voicemail left at a Tampa Bay-area mosque early Saturday morning is now being investigated by local and federal authorities.

Police were on patrol outside the Islamic Center of St. Petersburg Saturday after the church received a violent threat.

"Personally, I have a militia that's going to come down to your Islamic Society in Pinellas County and fire bomb you, shoot whoever's there right in the head," the message said.

While it's a disturbing message, it is one that's not surprising to many Muslims, especially because the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for deadly terror attacks in Paris.

"Whenever we see international terrorist attacks, the American Muslim community really does feel the backlash almost immediately," said Nezar Hamze with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

It is still disheartening for Muslims that these kinds of threats occur.

"Don't judge the entire 1.7 billion Muslims in the world by the actions of a couple of terrorists.  Get to know your Muslim community.  Go visit them.  Go shake their hands.  Go have a meal with them, and you'll see that they're just like every other American," said Hamze.

The person calling this church didn't seem afraid of being caught, even leaving his name on that voicemail.

"Come find me please.  Please report me," the caller said.

That's just what CAIR has done, sharing the threat with local and federal authorities.  So far no arrests have been made.

Meanwhile, CAIR wants to make it clear that they're sharing a very different message.  Hours before the threatening call, the church posted to its Faceboo page: "The true essence of Islam is peace". 

As a faith, CAIR is hoping for a more understanding world.

"We can only pray for them and hopefully God will open their heart and take the hate away," said Hamze.

The FBI confirms it has received the report of the threat and is looking into the matter.  The St. Pete Police Department says it has an increased presence with directed patrols in the area of the mosque.

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