Fort Pierce Islamic Center asking St. Lucie County Sheriff for extra security after recent threats

Posted at 7:40 PM, Jun 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-29 19:40:20-04

Bedar Bakht, a volunteer at the Islamic Center of Ft. Pierce, knows his building has been the center of attention, but for all the wrong reasons.

"When you're standing outside, people will drive by," he says. "They will curse you, they will show you fingers."

"What happened in Orlando has nothing to do with us, with Isalm, with religion.

However, he says that hasn't stopped some from lashing out, with everything from gestures to intimidating phone calls.

"It makes us nervous, basically. You never know who's going to do what," Bakht says.

He says last weekend didn't help.

On Sunday, dozens of bikers from around the state gathered in an event dubbed as the 'Patriotic Ride."

"I heard they circled around here like 20 times or something, and then they left," he says.

Bakht says leaders of the mosque have asked law enforcement for more security over the last few weeks.

But Wilfredo Ruiz with the council on American Islamic Relations says the Sheriff's Office has repeatedly denied that request.

"With the same excuse - that there's not enough personnel to provide a detail," he says.

A spokesperson for the sheriff's office tells us due to previous commitments, they couldn't provide the manpower to help the mosque before.

Now that those commitments are gone, they will consider it.

"This is a matter of safety and security for his community," he says. "This should be in the top three potential targets for a hate crime."

Bakht and others pray assistance comes soon.

"Give us some help, please."