A 49-year-old Missouri man was arrested Wednesday in connection with threatening phone calls made to an Augusta mosque over the summer, officials said.
Preston Q. Howard of Wright City, Missouri, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Savannah last week for threatening members of the Islamic Society of Augusta, Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of the Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a statement Thursday.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.
Between June 22 and August 8, Howard allegedly called the mosque in Augusta eight times and left more than 20 minutes of voicemail messages, Mitchell said.
“The caller repeatedly threatened to shoot, bomb and otherwise attack mosques and American Muslims in general,” Mitchell said.
The indictment against Howard charges 10 counts of interstate communication with intent to threaten to injure, according to the Augusta Chronicle. If convicted, Howard faces up to five years imprisonment on each count.
“We welcome the news that law enforcement arrested this anti-Muslim bigot before he could escalate his vile hate speech into a violent hate crime,” Mitchell said. “Sadly, death threats are nothing new to the American Muslim community.”