New York City man is charged with sending threatening emails to Muslim group

The Associated Press
June 16, 2014 11:59 AM

NEW YORK, N.Y. - A New York City man was charged Monday with sending emails threatening to kill a leader of a Muslim civil rights group.

The man, Bernhard Laufer, had been expected to appear later Monday in federal court but instead was taken to the hospital for undisclosed reasons. There was no immediate response to a phone message left with his attorney.

According to a criminal complaint, Laufer began sending the emails last year to the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. The group identified the recipient as its national executive director, Nihad Awad.

Laufer, 56, was already facing attempted murder charges alleging he stabbed a man at a Queens mosque in 2012 while yelling, "I will kill you Muslim." He was out on $200,000 bail when he sent an email accusing the Muslim group of framing him, warning, "CAIR will now be destroyed," court papers say.

In an email to Awad, he wrote, "I am coming after you, you jihad bastard," the papers say. In a third, he called himself a "mad man" who would "stop at nothing to kill you, your body guards and anybody else that is around you," they say.

In a statement, CAIR called the case "another incident demonstrating the actual, imminent harm that can result from Islamophobia."

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