SUNRISE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police have arrested a woman after, they said, she threatened to blow up a mosque in Sunrise, Sunday evening.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad and Sunrise Police responded to the scene on the 5400 block of Northwest 108th Avenue.
According to Sunrise Police, 41-year-old Irina Bihary was spotted at the mosque at the Islamic Foundation of South Florida, located on the 5400 block of Northwest 108th Avenue, Sunday evening.
Board member Zahid Qureshi said he’s seen Bihary recently. “I’ve seen her for the past two, three weeks.”
Representatives from the foundation said Bihary initially showed up at the mosque early Sunday and was disruptive during morning prayers. She left but came back just after 5 p.m., more aggressive and making more threats.
“[She said] something about politics, something about the United States,” said Wilfredo Ruiz, a spokesperson for the Council on American Islamic Relations. “She said that she was going to blow up the place or some words to that effect.”
Witness Ali Mithavayni spoke with the woman, who was seen wearing a black veil and gold scarf. “She said ‘k-i-l-l,’ then she said ‘mataron’ in Spanish, like ‘to shoot,'” he said. “I said, ‘What do you mean by this?’ She said, ‘Well, I want this place to come down.'”
That’s when they called police. Mosque security blocked the woman’s car to prevent her from getting away, and they held her until officers arrived on scene. “[They] took the lady out, they secured her, handcuffed her,” said Ruiz.
Sunrise Police shut down several blocks of Northwest 108th Avenue while they investigated. 7News cameras captured the bomb squad as they searched the woman’s Mitsubishi and police K-9s as they swept the building.
“We just come to pray over here. That’s it,” said mosque member Ahsan Dnisn.
More than 250 people were expected to end their fast for Ramadan at the mosque, and about 400 were expected to attend Sunday evening’s service. “It was supposed to be a time of prayer, reflection, inner reflection,” said Ruiz
They were diverted to the Islamic Center of Broward in Lauderhill. Police gave the all-clear at the mosque, just after 8 p.m.
Bihary was arrested and is undergoing a mental evaluation at the hospital. She faces criminal mischief and hoax charges. In 2013, she was arrested for criminal mischief and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Even though investigators didn’t find a dangerous device, members of the mosque said they have to take every threat seriously. “We have a strong belief in the guard and feel things are going to happen, so things go on,” said Qureshi.
One member said he feels safe at the mosque, even with the threats. “We are feeling comfortable,” said member Furkahn Hakeem. “No problem, because we have security here, so that’s good.”
Services at the mosque have since resumed.
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