Threat targets congressional candidate
MINNEAPOLIS — A threat targeting Rochester resident Regina Mustafa, a Muslim woman running for Congress, may have caught the attention of the FBI.
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today called on the FBI to investigate an online threat to shoot Mustafa, who announced her candidacy for Minnesota's 1st Congressional District earlier this month.
The threat was posted two days ago as a comment on a YouTube video from last year featuring Mustafa. The comment stated (grammatical errors maintained): "tell regina she is lower then a jewishh wh**** used tampon she will be shot..."
Mustafa has filed a report with the Rochester Police Department.
"In the light of national events, what this past weekend (in Charlottesville, Va.) has showed us is that we must take the threats very seriously," she said today, adding that she's no stranger to receiving hate mail and "borderline" threats through her work with the Community Interfaith Dialogue on Islam.
"I realize that entering into such a large political race, this is bound to happen," Mustafa said. "And I'm all for free speech, but when somebody makes a threat to your safety, you really have to take it seriously."
While expressing gratitude to the local authorities and CAIR for responding to the threat, it "does nothing but propel me forward.
"I believe my voice ... of religious, spiritual, cultural, ethnic background, is desperately needed," Mustafa said. "I want to show Southern Minnesota that I take everybody's concerns equally. And I think my voice of reason is desperately needed in southern Minnesota and also at the national level — that's what this Congressional seat offers."
She hopes her entry into the race — and her refusal to bow out — inspires "others who ever feel threatened, or feel that they can't pursue a dream."
Despite the threat, "the overwhelming amount of support and positive messages that I've received far outnumber outnumber these hateful messages," Mustafa said.
"I want that to be clear: there are way, way more good people, positive people out there," she said, "but we do have to take the threats seriously."
Rochester Police Capt. John Sherwin said he received the report Tuesday. His department will speak to the man who posted the video, and will try to track down the person who wrote the comment.
"The name used (on the comment) is very general," he said. "We'll investigate and see where it takes us."