WATAUGA - Worshippers are feeling violated and threatened in a sacred place this weekend in Watauga. The Watauga Masjid Center sits where it’s been for 15 years.
“This community has been nothing but open, loving, caring, nurturing to me since the day I've been here,” said Vincent Simon, a worshipper at the mosque.
It’s worshippers have dealt with hate before. But a recent phone call feels different.
“This individual screamed several expletives on the phone,” said Mujeeb Khalil, a member of the Watauga Masjid board of directors. “We feel threatened by these calls. And I don’t know what this brother is mad about.”
“To threaten men women and children who believe different than they do with bodily harm and death isn't right,” Simon said.
News 8 obtained a copy of the voicemail left from the man, who calls himself an Army veteran.
“[Expletive] Mohammad. [Expletive] Islam,” he says in the recording. “This is America. If you don't like the way we do [expletive] get the [expletive] out.
“Because let me tell you something. People like me and my other military brothers are [expletive] heavily armed to the teeth.”
The angry voicemail contained more than a dozen profanities. The caller continued to threaten the Masjid Center’s community.
“I'm a Christian and let me tell you, I'm your [expletive] enemy,” he says. “I hate you and you will never be a [expletive] friend. We will cut all of your heads off. Do you understand me? All of you."
“It's just not American to behave like this. Not the America that I know,” Simon said.
Simon is a Muslim and a veteran.
“This masjid is my home and always will be,” he said.
“Being a Marine, that's not what I fought for when I served for this country. Instead of threatening people, maybe he should go sit down and talk to them about what they're really about.”
Several veterans shared their thoughts about the voicemail on Sonia Azad’s Facebook page. Simon and others blame recent heated political rhetoric for the type of hatred heard in the voicemail.
Alia Salem with the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that kind of rhetoric is “adding fuel to the fire.”
“There's a lot of people who are reading a lot of info online and unfortunately it adds to them becoming radicalized in their thinking towards Muslims,” she said. “And so they want to take some sort of action.”
In the meantime, the Muslim community leans on Watauga police and the Dallas FBI for protection.
“All of us as Americans want safety and security for ourselves and our family members,” Simon said.
Family members Simon vows to protect, too, during a vulnerable time.
“I'll do my best to watch out for them and protect them,” he said.
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