- For Immediate Release & Distribution -

CAIR-Chicago commends sentence for man who threatened lllinois mosque

(CHICAGO, 11/05/10) – The Chicago office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today commended the sentencing of a man who threatened congregants of an Illinois mosque.

Judge David Bernthal issued the maximum sentence possible yesterday to 25-year-old Ilya Sobolevskiy, for emailing threats to the Central Illinois Mosque and Islamic Center (CIMIC). Sobolevskiy told CIMIC officials to close the mosque or else “it will be closed for [them].”

He was sentenced to 12 months in prison and a $3,000 fine.

Judge Bernthal called the threats “an act of terror.”

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One of Sobolevskiy’s messages read: “the muslims that attend [the mosque] are not to be seen in public with their beards or hijabs. tell them to get rid of such things. failure to comply will result in much tribulations for you and muslims in the region. i am not afraid to do whatever it takes to eradicate islam. WHATEVER it takes”

“We appreciate Judge Bernthal’s bold and principled decision and his acknowledgment that such threats are acts of terror,” said CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Amina Sharif. “We hope this sends a clear message to Islamophobes who try to threaten and intimidate Muslim Americans – that we will not live in fear.”

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CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of the largest Muslim civil liberties group, which has 35 chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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