Charlotte Islamic center to close doors on Inauguration Day as a precaution

Concerns of violence against houses of worship

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Local worship centers are taking steps to ensure safety with just hours before the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Thousands of law enforcement and national guard members have already arrived in our nation’s capital, including officers from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

With the threat of violence Wednesday, the Islamic Center of Charlotte is not taking any chances. What may be a normal night on Tuesday will be different as the doors will be closed on Inauguration Day.

“We got some warnings from the Feds, civil rights organizations -- legitimate sources -- this is not just specific to Charlotte, but all over the nation. We got warnings you should close tomorrow, and not just Islamic centers...any visible, recognizable Muslim business has also encouraged to close if they can afford to,” said spokesman Jibril Hough. “Once we got this information, if we didn’t take it seriously, it would be a failure of leadership on our part.”

Since the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, federal authorities have warned of potential protests and threats to government buildings and religious groups across the country.

In a statement, the FBI’s Charlotte Division says, “At this point in time, the FBI has not received any specific and substantiated threat to the state Capitol or other government buildings, or houses of worship, etc., in our area.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police also say they are not aware of any threats.

Still, Hough says they are not taking any chances

“If people can go in the Capitol like that and disrespect our crowning piece of democracy and plan to do it tomorrow...anything can happen,” he said.

Earlier, the United Church of Christ also posted to social media, encouraging members to remain vigilant and avoid gathering in buildings.

A surreal moment, Hough says as the nation prepares to turn another page in history.

“Tomorrow should be the day we show to the rest of the world our crowning activity of democracy.”

Both CMPD and the FBI asking everyone to stay on alert and if you see anything call authorities.

Full statement from the FBI:

At this point in time, the FBI has not received any specific and substantiated threat to the state Capitol or other government buildings, or houses of worship, etc., in our area. However, we are working together with our law enforcement partners to continuously share information. And as always, we encourage the public to be on alert and if they see something, say something.

Please see the below quotes from Director Christopher Wray for additional context.

“We’re monitoring all incoming leads, whether calls for armed protest, potential threats that grow out of the January 6th breach of the capital, or other kinds of potential threats leading up to inaugural events and in various other targets. We’re latched up with all of our partners in that regard.

When we talk about potential threats, we are seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter about a number of events surrounding the inauguration. Together with our partners, we evaluate those threats and what kind of resources to deploy against them. Right now, we’re tracking calls for potential armed protests and activity leading up to the inauguration.”

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