Islamic center official decries recent death threat made to congregation

The Alpharetta Police Department is investigating reports about a recent death threat made to a local Islamic prayer and worship center.

Moiz Mumtaz — President of the Islamic Center of North Fulton's Executive Committee — told police the threatening email was sent to the center's general contact email account on Aug. 28.

The email was sent at 6:57 a.m. from a Gmail account sender — with the subject line titled, “Death” — saying, “We the Satanists of Atlanta we will destroy your mosque and take your kids and kill them on the day of sacrifice October.”

The message ends with a sign-off: “Satanic temple Atlanta chapter and the left hand path."

The Satanic Temple is a national political organization based in New York, with chapters in major U.S. cities including Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Fred Mephisto, who heads The Satanic Temple's Atlanta chapter, said he was never aware of the incident, nor was any chapter member involved with sending a death threat to the Islamic center.

“Its contents stand in direct opposition to our beliefs and ideals,” Mephisto said. “It is painfully apparent that this was sent by someone opposed to our efforts, in order to damage our reputation.”

Local Satanic Temple member Cody Waters also said in the same interview, “the tenets of our faith encourage compassion and empathy for all people, and I think you'd agree blowing up a mosque is certainly antithetical to those ideals.”

The organization is known for invoking satanic imagery and paganist ideals to promote freedom of speech and from organized religion. The Satanic Temple was the subject of local controversy last month when it announced its intention to launch nationwide "After School Satan" clubs, including one at a Cobb County elementary school.

The death threat comes as a shock to Mumtaz, who said he was not aware of any groups, suspicious people or dealings he might have had in the past few months that would have triggered the treat.

“This came from out of the blue,” Mumtaz said. “Life is complex. It is so hard to decipher which factors are creating this environment."

The Islamic Center of North Fulton opened its doors in 1998 and serves thousands of Muslims in the metro Atlanta region. The center has been a target for vandalism in the past.

Mumtaz said the recent death threat could stem from sentiments involving the 15th anniversary of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

“9/11 hurts me. Maybe old wounds freshen up when something like this happens,” Mumtaz said. “What hurts you, hurts me.”

The case is ongoing.