Anthrax hoax mailings sent to five U.K. mosques

Fake anthrax hate mail packages have been sent to five mosques in the United Kingdom, one that contained an offensive drawing and words about the prophet Muhammad.

Mosques in London, Luton, Birmingham and Finsbury Park were targeted. The Finsbury Park package was addressed to Imam Ahmed Saad, who opened it when it arrived. Far-right extremists have been blamed for sending the packages, the Daily Mirror reports.

“(Saad) saw the white powder and left the package on the table. We were worried it could be anthrax,” Mohamed Said, a mosque worker, said, according to the Daily Mirror.

Some of the packages may have been delivered by hand. Scotland Yard has determined that the packages are “non-harmful” and is further investigating them.

During a 2001 anthrax attack of the postal service in the United States, 22 people in total became infected, resulting in five deaths. Around 10,000 postal workers and others who were suspected to have been exposed received the recommended two month dose of antibiotics. Those who may be potentially exposed to anthrax, such as laboratory workers, certain armed forces members and workers who enter or re-enter contaminated areas may receive an anthrax vaccination. This is the only preventative measure of anthrax infection. It is not yet available to the general public, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.