Muslim group calls for investigation into Jacksonville anthrax hoax

The powder may have been harmless, but a Muslim group wants the FBI to investigate a suspicious mailing to a Jacksonville, Fla., Muslim teacher as a hate crime, the Florida Times-Union reports.

Yusha Evans opened an envelope at his apartment Monday afternoon to discover a suspicious powder contained inside.

Jacksonville emergency workers responded to a bioterror threat Monday after Evans opened the envelope, according to the Florida Times-Union.

Firefighters in hazmat suits responded to the apartment and sealed the unknown substance so that it could be tested additionally, the newspaper reported. The Jacksonville neighborhood was roped off for several hours.

“They will do preliminary checks to see if there are any biological threat, radiological threat, or any chemical threat,” Lt. Andy Morgan of the Homeland Security Division of the Duval County Sheriff's Office told the Florida Times-Union. “We are all hoping that there really isn’t.”

It wasn't, tests confirmed on Tuesday, but the Council on American-Islamic Relations believes the matter should be taken seriously in light of other incidents this year in the Jacksonville area, according to the newspaper.

On May 10, the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida was firebombed. In April, anti-Muslim sentiment rose after a Muslim scholar was appointed to the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission. The newspaper reports that detractors have tied the scholar to Hamas.