A south suburban man has been charged with leaving a threatening voicemail for an official with the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Sufyan Sohel, CAIR-Chicago’s deputy director and counsel, arrived at his downtown office in mid-May and found a threatening voicemail on his personal line that began with, “Hey, this is America calling,” Sohel said.
“You are not welcome here. Take your f***ing s*** back to Syria. We will kill you. F*** Democrats. We will kill you. You are not welcome here. Get out. Take your f***ing Muslim law, F*** Allah. Jesus Christ is the only God there is,” the voicemail continued.
The caller then left his phone number and said, “Do I seem afraid of you?”
“We get frequent mail, faxes, emails, phone calls, but not to this extreme,” Sohel said, citing the death threat, which led him to report the call to the FBI and Chicago Police.
Police arrested 45-year-old Marvin Meyer, who faces one felony count of committing a hate crime and one misdemeanor count of telephone harassment.
Sohel said he has never met Meyer.
“We get a lot of ‘You’re not welcome here, get back home,'” Sohel said. “Some of it’s understandable, but especially when it’s targeted at a civil rights organization, it is kind of a little bit ironic.”
“Then someone calls us and tells us to go home and I laugh because I am home,” Sohel said. “It perpetuates that feeling of otherness or not being welcome.”
Meyer, an Oak Forest resident, was ordered held on a $75,000 bail Saturday, according to Cook County sheriff’s records. He is scheduled to return to court Thursday.
“We’re so happy, especially these days when you hear of mistrust between police and communities,” Sohel said. “We’re thankful that they were very thorough in their investigation, and that the state’s attorney’s office charged it as a hate crime. We hope it holds up in the legal system.”
“More than anything, it motivates me to keep on doing what I’m doing,” Sohel said.