Mosque claims to receive threat letter from 'Christian State'

by Gregory Tomlin, |
A copy of the letter allegedly sent to three mosques near Brussels, Belgium. The letter, claiming to be from the Christian State is written in French and carries much of the same language as propaganda videos produced by ISIS. It is unclear if the letter is an actual threat, a prank, or satire. | TWITTER / @MARWAANTUNSI

BRUSSELS (Christian Examiner) – A mosque near Brussels has reportedly received a threatening letter from a heretofore unknown terror group calling itself "Etat Chretien" or the "Christian State." 

The letter, written in French, warned Muslims in Molenbeek they should "tremble" and that "the Christian State will avenge our brothers who fell in the various attacks." The mosque in Molenbeek is in the hometown of three of the Islamic State terrorists who killed 130 people in Paris earlier in November.

According to Jamal Habbachich, chairman of the mosque association in Sint, Jans and Molenbeek, the letter arrived in the mailbox in a plane envelope. Two other mosques also claimed to have received the letter, he said.

Habbachich told a Dutch-language newspaper the letter claimed members of the Christian State would kill Muslims "like pigs by cutting the throat and your souls to repent."

More accurately translated, the letter claims, "Your brothers will be butchered like pigs and crucified as our Lord in order to convert their souls."

The letter also warned that mosques would not be the only target. It also said shopping places could be targets.

Belgian authorities are taking the letter seriously, though the country's police and intelligence services have no knowledge of any such terror cell. For now, all eyes are focused on Islamic terrorists. Last week, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the government may close some mosques deemed "radical."

Habbachich said area Muslims, who had an open door policy, are nor rethinking security because the threat is "so serious."

"We would like to know whether the threat actually comes from Christians or from pranksters," Habbachich said.

One commentator, however, is calling the letter a fake based on the English-language reporting of the incident. Dale Hurd, senior reporter for Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, wrote in a blog post that the letter was full of spelling mistakes. He also wrote:

"The European Left exalts Islam and hates Christianity. European governments have actively helped Islam spread throughout the EU. I also have no doubt the European Left feels badly that Islam has been cast in such a bad light by the recent Paris attacks. There's actually a great cathartic need for a 'Christian State,' as demonstrated by the uncritical reporting on what I think is a hoax."

"The threatening letter, which was full of spelling mistakes, said that 'no mosque and none of your businesses will be safe' and threatened that 'brothers [Muslims] will be slaughtered like pigs and crucified as our Lord converts their souls.'"

"'Brothers?' This was written by a Muslim with a poor understanding of Christian salvation. European Protestants and Catholics are not known to want to kill Muslims, and European Neo-Nazis are not Christian, but pagan."

Hurd, however, apparently had access only to reporting that included partial quotes of the letter and that began the comment with "brothers," rather than "your brothers" as the letter states.

Habbachich isn't sure either. He admitted that the author of the letter "apparently uses terminology similar to that of the Islamic State group." Le Parisien TV carried a video of Habbachich printing a copy of a picture of the letter.

The receipt of the letter was not the only threat received last week. In Brussels' on Thursday, the Grand Mosque was evacuated after packets of white powder were discovered in the building. Police later said the white powder was flour.