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IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – Threatened for his faith, a North Texas imam has found himself the target of ISIS after a new video recently surfaced calling for his assassination.
Imam Omar Suleiman said the video titled in Arabic, “Kill The Apostate Imams,” was brought to his attention by the FBI at the beginning of March.
“I believe that their venom needs to be condemned. They’ve hijacked my religion,” said Suleman, who heads prayers at the Valley Ranch Islamic Center and is part of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research.
The clip, now removed from Youtube, was posted shortly after Suleiman’s interfaith work with Pastor Andrew Stoker of First United Methodist Church Dallas. Their video called, “An Imam, a Pastor and a Dream,” reaffirmed the idea of unity among religions.
“It makes me that much more determined when I see that hateful groups are increasing in their hatred toward us and trying to delegitimize us,” said Suleiman. “That tells me that we’re doing something right.”
Suleiman is no stranger to threats, but this is a first from ISIS.
“You’ve got ISIS on one hand saying you can’t be a Muslim American because you cannot be loyal to your Muslim part,” said Sileiman. “And then you have Islamophobes saying you can’t be a Muslim American because you cannot be loyal to your American part and you’ve got a whole bunch of Muslim American’s in the middle saying, ‘Where do we fall?’ ”
Former FBI Deputy Director Buck Revell said the threat is serious.
“Certainly we’ve had enough attacks here in the United States to know there is a capability,” said Revell, who worked for the FBI for 30 years.
Revell said these type of calls for killings from ISIS on Muslims are more common than most people might think.
“The majority of people who are attacked in the Muslim religion are attacked by other Muslims,” said Revell.
Revell commends Suleiman for standing up against the terrorist group. Suleiman said he feels he has no choice.
“Whether it’s a guy holding a rifle outside of my mosque shouting bigoted things and threatening me and my family, or it’s someone producing a video from some corner of Iraq, we have to be resilient,” said Suleiman.
A spokesperson for the FBI Dallas operations office said the FBI cannot confirm or deny any investigation but that it takes all threats seriously.