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First ever Turkish-American police chief victim of threats due to 'race, religion'

Protective barriers were erected around Police Headquarters due to the severity of the threats [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 March, 2020

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Ibrahim 'Mike' Baycora was appointed as police chief of the city of Paterson, New Jersey, last month.
The United States' first ever Muslim police chief became the victim of a campaign of racist, Islamophobic threats sent to him via text, local authorities said on Monday.

Ibrahim 'Mike' Baycora, a first generation Turkish-American immigrant, was appointed as the 17th police chief of the city of Paterson, New Jersey, last month.

The historic ceremony saw him swear on the Quran instead of the Bible, with reprentatives from the Turkish community in New York and New Jersey in attendance, as well as an imam.

Yet it did not take long for Baycora to find himself of the recieving end of threats due to his race and religion.

Stefan Keco, 28, was charged on Friday for sending "threatening text messages to Chief Baycora with the purpose to intimidate him because of the chief's religion, race and national origin," Passaic County Prosecutor Cameia Valdes said in a statement.

Protective barriers were erected in front of Paterson Police Headquarters on Monday due to the severity of the threats, News 12 New Jersey reported.

Local Mayor Andre Sayegh defended Baycora valiantly in response to the incident: "The message should be sent loud and clear: You can't mess with our police chief. Especially if you're messing with him because of his faith." 

The timing of the threats coincides with a continued debate by the Paterson City council on whether to allow mosques annd other places of worship to amplify prayer calls, according to local media. 

Baycora's appointment comes at a time of increase Muslim representation in America.

In November 2018 two Muslims, Ilhan Omar and Rashia Tlaib, were elected to the US House of Representatives.

Read more: US appoints its first ever Turkish-American police chief 

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