Investigation launched after hateful phone calls made to Denver-area mosques

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- Police are investigating a series of hateful phone calls made to a Lakewood mosque. It comes as similar calls have been reported at mosques across the Denver area.

The call in Lakewood was reported to have turned threatening, sparking a criminal investigation.

Mosque leaders in Denver, Boulder, Lakewood, Golden and Northglenn said they recently received inflammatory phone calls referencing recent terror attacks in England.

Muslim leaders in Colorado have condemned the attacks.

“We as American Muslims are even more angry,” Imam Ayman Hama said.

Hama leads the Rocky Mountain Islamic Center mosque in Lakewood. A call on Monday to his center cursed the name of Allah and threatened the congregation, according to Hama.

The caller reportedly said, “You are going to pay for Manchester and London.”

Hama said the comments were especially hurtful because he knows the pain of terrorism firsthand. His cousin was killed by ISIS in Syria.

“We take it very seriously,” Hama said. “It takes one bad person to do a lot of damage.”

The threat in Lakewood was reported to the Lakewood Police Department and the FBI, according to the imam.

Mosques elsewhere in the Denver area reported similar phone calls, but those calls did not turn threatening. Muslim leaders believe the calls are coming from the same person.

“He was hateful, and he was cursing,” said Farid Amin, chairman of CAIR-CO, an advocacy group for Colorado Muslims.

Amin works to make sure people know his faith promotes peace, not violence. Every time there’s a terror attack in the name of Islam, it makes his job more difficult.

“It gives you a very bad feeling because you know that a Muslim should not be associated with anything that is bad let alone killing and hurting people,” Amin said.

The mosque in Lakewood has hired a private security firm as police work to locate a suspect. No arrests had been made as of late Tuesday.

Police said the incident could be classified as a hate crime as the investigation continues.