FBI investigating Mich. houses of worship being 'targets'
Places of worship were on alert Tuesday after being notified they were listed as possible targets of threats.
"The Dearborn Heights Police Department is conducting a joint investigation with the FBI and other local law enforcement agencies related to the discovery of an abandoned firearm along with several documents, recently recovered by Dearborn Heights Police Officers," a statement from the city, released late Tuesday night, said.
The targets were notified, the statement said, and Dearborn Heights says "there are no known threats that have been assessed as credible at this time to any churches or houses of worship."
Masjid Bilal, a Canton Township mosque on the 1500 block of North Ridge Road, and Westminster Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids said they were contacted by authorities after a suspicious package was discovered in Dearborn Heights on Monday.
A Facebook post by the church on Monday indicated it was told that it was listed on information found with the package.
The church said while Grand Rapids police have not indicated that Westminster is in immediate danger, it closed its church offices, downtown food pantry and its child development center on Tuesday. The church said it plans to reopen Wednesday.
"In close collaboration with law enforcement, Westminster’s offices and programs, including WCDC, will be open as usual tomorrow," the church posted on Facebook on Tuesday.
Officials at the Canton Township mosque said police informed them Monday of a threat and sent deputies to search the building on Tuesday.
"The Canton police came, saying, 'We got information from Dearborn Heights letter with three holy places that are possible targets,'" said spokesman Shahid Mahood. "They looked around and left."
Mahood said the news was troubling and they have hired security guards. The mosque will remain available for open prayer.
Canton Township police and Grand Rapids police did not immediately respond to requests for information from The Detroit News. .
"Although we do not know the motive or intent behind the creation of this list, we offer our support for the other faith communities included—and all perpetually marginalized faith communities. We pray to continue our witness undeterred in our commitments to interfaith solidarity, justice, and peace among people," the Westminster church posted on Facebook on Monday.