To: Northglenn, Adams County, state and federal law enforcement authorities
Re: Targeting and harassment of the North Denver Islamic Center & Outreach Director Ihsan Riahi
March 1, 2021
As faith leaders with Together Colorado* we are extremely concerned about the escalating targeting and harassment of the North Denver Islamic Center in Denver & Outreach Director Ihsan Riahi. Mr. Riahi and the Center are active participants in our statewide multi-faith organizing through our Adams & Broomfield County Faith Leaders Caucus and our Statewide Faith Leaders Caucus. Their participation has been an invaluable contribution to our work for human dignity in Colorado.
While the mosque has been dealing with targeting and harassment by Richard Roy Blake for about six years, and local law enforcement has dealt with him on numerous occasions, he has now escalated to extortion and has been tracking down Mr. Riahi specifically. Additionally, these threats have now become known to the members of the mosque, and the community is on edge, worried, and fearful, especially with the escalation of hate crimes and militant extremist views in our country in the last months and years.
Mr. Blake has expressed on multiple occasions his extreme, hateful, xenophobic views about Muslims & Islam and most importantly about their place of worship where they do an open house and invite people of faith and no faith to come and break bread together to spread love and understanding and build bridges. He stands outside the mosque with signs and has openly called their guests, including priests, deacons, and rabbis, all men and women of faith, “Traitors”. On several occasions Mr. Blake has brought other people with him who share his extremist views; and once he invited an armed anti-government militia to come and protest at the mosque.
In mid-February, Mr. Blake sent a second letter to the Mosque trying to extort money. He also attempted to contact Mr. Riahi at a previous address and ended up sending him a letter as well.
All of these actions are signs that he is a threat and a person with some mental problems that cannot be trusted nor ignored.
It is understandable that the executive board of the Mosque is taking these developments very seriously, as an imminent threat to the safety of the Mosque and their congregants, Mr. Riahi and others in leadership positions, and to our city and community in general.
We, the undersigned faith leaders of Together Colorado, stand with the North Denver Islamic Center and wholeheartedly support the Mosque’s call for intervention by the appropriate law enforcement authorities to address this threat and ensure the wellbeing of not only their leadership, congregants and place of worship, but of all members of the community who are put at risk by the actions and threats of Mr. Blake.
We respectfully await your response to this petition.
Signed by 69 Colorado faith leaders & community leaders. To view the signers, see the PDF below.
*Together Colorado is a nonpartisan, multi-racial, multi-faith community organization that unlocks the power of people to transform their communities through community organizing. Comprised of 220 congregations, schools, clergy and faith leaders across the state, we are working together to place human dignity at the center of public life in Colorado. We are a member of Faith in Action, the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States, working with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through 40 local and state federations.Faith-Leader-Letter-Islamic-Center