POLITICS
02/22/2017 06:46 pm ET

Police Are Investigating Online Threat To Muslim Activist Linda Sarsour

The incident will be treated as "aggravated harassment," the NYPD says.
Muslim activist Linda Sarsour received online threats last week.
Noam Galai via Getty Images
Muslim activist Linda Sarsour received online threats last week.

Police are investigating threats made on social media to Muslim American activist Linda Sarsour.

The prominent activist and Women’s March on Washington co-chair reported the threat to police on Friday. A man going by the name of Glenn Maccioli reportedly wrote on Facebook: “This b***h is in Brooklyn. Anyone know where? I would like to spit in her face.”

The comment was made under an article about Sarsour posted on the “Bay Ridge Talk” Facebook page, according to New York Daily News.

The New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force confirmed to The Huffington Post on Wednesday that it was investigating the incident as a case of “aggravated harassment.” Sgt. Lee Jones said the investigation was ongoing and no arrests have been made.

Sarsour could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The Palestinian-American social justice activist has been targeted in the past. Following the historic Women’s March, conservative and anti-Muslim sites launched an attack on Sarsour, baselessly accusing her of supporting terrorism. The Daily Caller, FrontPageMag, the American Thinker, The Gateway Pundit and a slew of anti-Muslim hate sites published disparaging articles about the organizer in the days after the march.

“The opposition cannot fathom to see a Palestinian Muslim American woman that resonates with the masses,” Sarsour said in a Facebook post. “Someone whose track record is clear and has always stood up for the most marginalized.”

She added that it wasn’t the first time she’d been attacked online, but said, “It’s definitely more intense ― the fact that my children see it is what is bothering me the most.”

In 2014, Sarsour was attacked and harassed by a man who chased her through her Brooklyn neighborhood and threatened to cut off her head. Police arrested suspect Brian Boshell and charged him with a hate crime.

The country has witnessed a disturbing trend of Islamophobia in recent years. The number of physical assaults against Muslims reached 9/11-era levels in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. From 2014 to 2015, the FBI reported a 67 percent spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes.

As a prominent Muslim American and a vocal activist, Sarsour is often in the public eye. The 36-year-old is the director of the Arab American Association of New York, a member of the police reform group the Justice League, and the 2012 recipient of a Champion of Change award from President Barack Obama.

On Tuesday, she and Muslim activist Tarek El-Messidi launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a Jewish cemetery that was desecrated by vandals. The campaign aimed to raise $20,000, which it did in a matter of hours. By Wednesday afternoon, the initiative had raised nearly $100,000.

HuffPost

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