The Capitol Hill office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations was evacuated by police Thursday, after a suspicious “foreign substance” was received in the mail. Early tests showed the substance isn’t dangerous; the FBI is now investigating.
CAIR says its personnel came in contact with an envelope that contained a powdery, white substance and a message referring to a “painful death.”
The evacuation was announced around 2 p.m. ET; nearly an hour later, CAIR posted an update saying, “Preliminary field tests indicate the substance is not dangerous, letter is now in the hands of the FBI for more extensive tests and investigation.”
Images from the scene show hazardous-materials workers being hosed down in a portable tub set up on the street outside the office.
The group has received death threats in the past, says national communications director Ibrahim Hooper — but he tells NPR’s Newscast unit, “they’ve increased tremendously since the Paris attacks, the San Bernardino killings, and the Donald Trump statements.”
In the hours after the San Bernardino killings perpetrated by Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, CAIR organized a news conference at which its local director condemned the violence and offered prayers for those affected; the event was also attended by Farook’s brother-in-law.