By Maureen Groppe and Maureen C. Gilmer, IndyStar
WASHINGTON (Dec. 8, 2015)– Rep. Andre Carson, one of two Muslim members of Congress, said Tuesday he’s received a death threat he attributes in part to politicians “fanning the flames of bigotry,” our partners at the IndyStar report.
Speaking on CNN about Donald Trump’s call Monday for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States, the Indianapolis Democrat said such public comments are putting Muslims and others in the line of fire.
“I just received a death threat yesterday in my own office, and it’s largely in part to this toxic environment,” Carson said. “What concerns me is you have the demagoguery taking place from people who are seeking to become president of the United States. You have other politicians who are joining the bandwagon and who are fanning the flames of bigotry.”
Carson’s spokeswoman, Jessica Gail, said Carson has received dozens of threats since he took office in 2008. The threats tend to spike when Carson is in the news, such as when he was appointed to the House Intelligence Committee in January.
Kim Rudolph, Carson’s chief of staff, said all threats are turned over to law enforcement authorities in Washington or Indianapolis to investigate.
Rudolph said she can’t provide details on the threat Carson received Monday because the investigation is ongoing.
“It’s always a concern when someone goes through the effort of announcing that they want to do you bodily harm,” she said. “But at no time has it stopped him from doing the people’s work.”
Edgar Hopida, communications director for Islamic Society of North America in Plainfield, Ind., said Tuesday Muslims across the nation are concerned.
“What we’re fearful of is that the rhetoric (Donald) Trump is putting out might inspire the more violent segment of his supporters to lash out,” Hopida said. “I think it’s understandable that with the events in Paris and San Bernardino people are very scared. We should be on alert, but he is taking that fear and turning it into hatred toward the wider Muslim community, and that’s totally wrong.”