Man Arrested for Threats Raised Concern at Denton Islamic Center

Denton police continue to investigate a man arrested for allegedly telling a hospital employee she would "die" if she didn't accept a Quran.

Officer Shane Kizer, spokesman for the Denton Police Department, said Thursday that 28-year-old Peshwaz Waise had been moved from the Denton City Jail to undergo a medical evaluation, on which he couldn't comment further.

Waise was arrested Wednesday morning at the security checkpoint of the Denton County Courthouse. Police took several complaints that morning of Waise speaking irrationally and causing disturbances at several locations in town.

According to an arrest affidavit, he eventually went to the Texas Health Presbyterian Women's Center and tried to get an employee at the front to give a Quran to the hospital chapel, the employee claimed, telling her she would "die" and the hospital would "go down" if she didn't.

Waise was arrested at the courthouse a short time later, where witnesses said he was speaking loudly in the lobby about wanting to give the Quran to judges.

During his arrest, officers say he told them he was "the King" and "I'm imposing the death penalty."

He later told the deputies that "anybody who touches me is going to bleed," according to police.

Officers closed off half of the courthouse parking lot for hours as they investigated Waise's vehicle out of caution, but found no weapons or explosives.

Kizer said Waise is from Virginia, though they're still investigating exactly why he was in Denton.

So far, Kizer said, Waise has said he wanted to preach Islam, even trying to preach to the police public information officer from inside his jail cell.

Kizer said that Waise did show up at least one other time in the area when he was reportedly trying to preach at a Dallas church last month.

Before he began attracting officers' attention Wednesday, leaders at the Islamic Society of Denton said he showed up at their mosque.

"He prayed with us morning prayer," said Imam Mohamed Fouad, who had never seen Waise before that morning.

Fouad said Waise approached him before the prayer session was complete, talking about wanting to preach, and the Islamic leader asked him to talk to him afterward.

"He came to me and told me, 'Imam, we want…preaching for non-Muslims in order to know Islam,'" said Fouad.

Fouad said preaching like that is not a part of what they do – that the mosque is a place for the local Islamic community to gather, celebrate and teach to those who come to them, but not to go out and preach.

"I said to him, this is not our work here," he said.

Fouad said he gave Waise a few copies of the Quran before the man left and a short time later was arrested for making those threats.

Fouad said he believes Waise likely has psychological issues, but he did not think that the man was a danger.

"I am sure, no. According to what I see," he said. "All his goal, just preaching."

However, Fouad said he urged Waise to be safe and not to bother people with his message, especially in the wake of the shooting that killed 49 people in Orlando.

Fouad said the Islamic Society of Denton heavily condemns the attack and that violence of that kind has no place in their religion or any.

"There is no religion for blood. Killing is killing, and blood is blood," he said.

A representative for the FBI said they have been in contact with local police on the Waise situation, and Kizer said they continue to work with terrorism investigators as they evaluate the suspect's intentions.

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