The U.S. Muslim advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Capitol Hill office was evacuated by police Thursday after receiving a “foreign substance” in the mail.
The office received an envelope with a note containing a message: “Die a painful death, Muslims.” It also contained a white powder, according to CAIR staff attorney Maha Sayed.
They received the envelope Thursday morning. The office of the Muslim advocacy group was evacuated except for staffers who had been in contact with the substance, CBS reported.
Three employees came in contact with the substance and were quarantined in the building while police and firemen got to the scene, according to Reuters. Ibrahim Hooper, a CAIR spokesperson, added that the rest of the office staff waited on the sidewalk outside.
CAIR said preliminary field tests show that the substance is not dangerous. The FBI is in possession of the letter and will do more tests.
Sayed released the following statement:
“We receive hate messages daily because of our advocacy on behalf of the American #Muslim community. It’s frightening to experience the hate manifest itself to such a real level. This will not deter us from continuing to protect the civil rights and liberties of all Americans.”
He also said that their “fear is at a pretty high level at this time, given the anti-Muslim rhetoric going on.”
A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department, Alice Kim, said that police blocked off the street where the building resides. And CAIR’s Instagram page showed the street blocked off with a group of emergency vehicles and the office with yellow police tape.
This incident came just days after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump issued a call to prohibit Muslims from entering the United States until the government can come up with a better screening process for people entering the country.
CAIR, based in Washington, D.C., is the U.S.’s biggest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.