The man who allegedly left threatening phone messages over the weekend for the Islamic Society of St. Petersburg and the Islamic Society of Pinellas County has been arrested.
Hassan Shibly, chief executive director of CAIR-Florida, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says the man was arrested Tuesday for leaving violent threats in the wake of the terrorist attack in Paris on Friday.
“An individual called several mosques in Pinellas County and threatened to bring a militia to attack the mosques, to firebomb them, to shoot up two year old children and hundred year old men. A very, very nasty, hateful incitement to terrorist acts of violence on the Muslim community. We immediately reported that to the Department of Justice and had the FBI investigate. And today it appears the FBI did file a criminal complaint and an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint to have him arrested. And as far as we know he has been arrested today and is facing, apparently felony criminal charges.”
Do we know what charges they are?
“Basically a violation … which makes it illegal to use an instrument of interstate commerce to convey threats, which he clearly did, obviously.”
The caller gave his name as Martin Schnitzler. Is that the person who was arrested?
“That’s the name. And that’s what’s so scary about the situation, Sean, is that he was reckless enough to call from his personal cell phone … He was reckless enough to give his name in the threat. So we don’t know what other things he’s capable of doing in recklessness. So that’s why the threat has to be taken seriously and an example made out of him that we will not tolerate allowing enemies abroad to incite us against each other and allow us to make threats of terrorism against each other.”