ISIS Videos Threaten Irving Imam

A prominent Dallas-area imam, Omar Suleiman, has received at least two death threats in lengthy videos that appear to come from the violent extremist group known as ISIS or Islamic State. Suleiman is now in contact with FBI officials, he said. The Irving-based, New Orleans-born imam believes he has been targeted because of his moderate views, his condemnation of ISIS and his ecumenical work to help foster a greater understanding of Islam.A spokeswoman for the FBI would not confirm or deny an investigation. But a Dallas-area security consultant said he believes the videos constitute a real threat from ISIS. And a former FBI agent said such threats should be taken seriously.The Arabic headline in one video reads "Kill the imams of the disbelief,” said Suleiman and the security consultant Mohamed Elibiary. Both men are fluent in Arabic.In one of the videos, Suleiman appears briefly in a clip walking with the Rev. Andy Stoker, senior minister of First United Methodist Church. That video with Stoker was previously released in December as a way to promote interfaith understanding.In it, Suleiman reads from an email written by Stoker in which the minister says “I believe in your work and I believe in you. We are better together than apart."Suleiman said he is taking the threat seriously and has increased his security. The 29-year-old imam is founder of the Irving-based Yaqeen Institute, whose mission is to combat extremists and deepen understanding of the religion. He is also the resident scholar at the Valley Ranch Islamic Center and teaches a course in Islamic studies at Southern Methodist University.He is co-chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square, an interfaith coalition.Suleiman rose to broader prominence after the July 7th shootings of law enforcement officers in downtown Dallas that followed a peaceful demonstration against police-involved shootings of minorities. The imam was one of many addressing a memorial service in July that was attended by then-President Barack Obama.  Continue reading...

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