‘Yes, we are afraid’: Local Iraqi leaders respond to Westbrook threat against Muslims

Homes in the Westbrook Pointe Apartments complex, where typed death threats were left under the windshield wipers of several cars on Wednesday. (Jake Bleiberg | BDN)

Homes in the Westbrook Pointe Apartments complex, where typed death threats were left under the windshield wipers of several cars on Wednesday. (Jake Bleiberg | BDN)

The following letter was sent to the City of Westbrook by the Iraqi Community Association of Maine in response to threatening notes left around a Westbook apartment complex. We’ve republished it here in full. 

Yes, we are afraid.

Just like anyone else who escaped war and death in their countries, left their families and friends behind, seeking peace and safe places to live in .. away from the devil of terrorism. Yes, we are afraid again! All of us were victims of terrorist acts, when it first started with the same threatening strips of paper in Iraq, which carried the same message of threat with death, the same we got yesterday August 18, 2016.

How should we respond to this threat? I don’t know!
What to do in a situation like this? We have no idea.

Because we didn’t own the evil intentions that the terrorists have, we don’t have the mentality to do so; we didn’t know how to face them before; all we did when we got a threat in Iraq in the same way, way to leave the country and save ourselves and our families.

What happened on Wednesday August 17, 2016 is considered as a terrorist threat. Every Muslim in the Westbrook Pointe complex feels targeted now; from oldest to youngest, women and men. The death threats that happened on Wednesday awakes the trauma in people here. The threat is against all of us, it is treating the safety of all Americans not only Muslim Americans. We hope that authorities of Crisis Management and Security enforcement to address this issue and advise us on how to deal with this threat and guide us with protection tips.

Schools are about to start. Many residents of Westbrook pointe complex have kids that attend schools. Parents are worried to go to their work and leave their kids home alone. Everyone got scared and confused from what had happened, and all are worried about the situation getting worse.

We trust the professionality of Westbrook’s Police Department, and we believe in their high skills to protect our Iraqi American Community.

We are proud as citizens / residents of The United States of America. We believe deeply in the values and principles of this great country; our country, and the rights of everybody to live with freedom and dignity. This is our new home country that we chose by ourselves, and we will not allow terrorism to destroy our peaceful community. We are willing to support the authorities by all means.

God bless America

Thank you!

— Raed ALdoori, executive director of ICAM, and Aqeel Mohialdeen, publisher of the The Hanging Gardens newspaper

Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the editor of BDN Portland. He's an Orland native who first moved to Portland in 2002. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.