Imam ‘relieved’ after man charged with threatening Lexington Islamic Center

Herald-Leader Staff Report

A 2009 file photo of Mahmoud Shalash, the imam of the Lexington Islamic Center.
A 2009 file photo of Mahmoud Shalash, the imam of the Lexington Islamic Center. Lexington

A man has been charged with terroristic threatening for an email sent to the Islamic Center of Lexington on Nov. 27.

Anthony Catapano, 31, of Lexington was arrested and charged Monday with third-degree terroristic threatening.

Catapano turned himself in at the sheriff’s office, said Lexington police Sgt. Ann Welch.

The Islamic Center of Lexington contacted Lexington police and federal Homeland Security on Nov. 27 after receiving the threat, its imam Mahmoud Shalash said in November.

The email threat said: “I'm going to kill everyone I there [sic] you Muslim f**ks. Salabis is coming for you, ” according to a news release from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.

Shalash said Tuesday that he is “very, very relieved” that the arrest had been made.

Police have shown up to provide extra patrols the past two Fridays during the gatherings for congregational prayer, he said.

But Shalash said attendance numbers have been down a little since the threat, because some people “don’t want to take a chance.”

“Hopefully they will come back,” he said.

Catapano was no longer being held in the Fayette County Detention Center Tuesday afternoon.

CAIR said the nation’s Muslim community was targeted with threats, intimidation and violence after the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris.