CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jibrill Hough says the Islamic Center is a safe place for him. That's why when they receive hate mail, he feels like intruders are invading this sacred space with hateful words and threats of violence.
Hough says he's prayed her since it opened.
"I think it was like 1993. It's probably the oldest Masjid in Charlotte," Hough said.
Jibril wasn't born Muslim. He converted 30 years ago at age 24 after finding a religion he said aligned with his activism.
"It gave me a peace. It gave me a purpose. Not only was I standing up for racist issues, I was standing up for Muslim issues," he said.
Now, 30 years later, he serves as the spokesperson for the center. Jibril says he's fighting against hateful messages targeting Muslims.
"From time to time, we get emails and voicemails - people who pretty much don't like Muslims, they might say something short," Hough said.
But Hough said recently a message got more intense. So much so, he sent it to local police and the FBI.
"He says he's the son of Satan. No FBI, no mayor, no president can stop me," Hough said, reading the email. "He's intent on wiping us out from here to Bahrain."
Hough said the FBI told him there was not enough of a threat to pursue the sender.
But he feels there's a double standard when it comes to addressing threats of any kind against the Muslim community.
"I believe this is someone who should be taken seriously. If it's a Muslim, in five minutes, they'll tell you everywhere he's prayed, his family lineage, his school of thought, what he had for dinner that night," Hough said.
Jibril said he's not asking for special treatment, but rather equal treatment.
"We have to fight for justice everywhere. All of us deserve equal treatment under the law," Hough said.
Spectrum News 1 reached out to the Charlotte Office of the FBI, and they said the email did not appear to be a federal crime, but that does not mean they will not attemp to identify who wrote the email and make contact with them.
They also sent Spectrum News 1 a statement saying:
"No matter how offensive to some, we are keenly aware that expressing views is not a crime by itself and that the protections afforded under the Constitution cannot be compromised. Non-threatening hate conduct is protected by the First Amendment and the FBI does not investigation [SIC] that conduct."