Hate crimes on the rise while places of worship in metro Detroit are targeted

Posted at 9:41 PM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 21:41:18-05

A church closing its doors and a mosque with more security as police across the state are investigating threats against places of worship. The origin of the threats? Dearborn Heights.

Police say the threat was found in a bag along with an unloaded gun. A map had multiple faith-based places circled, including churches and a mosque in Canton. 

Masjid Bilal in Canton is one of the targets, and Canton Police are taking the threat seriously. 

In Grand Rapids, Westminster Presbyterian Church announced on Facebook that it's closing its doors until there's more information from police.

"It's sad," said Donna Malek. "You know, being here, everyone should be able to practice their religion."

On the same day as the threat, the FBI released new data, showing hate crimes in the U.S. on the rise. 

There have been nearly 400 hate crimes in Michigan alone in 2016, with crimes against Muslims the highest since 9/11.

"Anybody would be worried of a threat," Malek said. "You know you're losing some of your rights."

Grand Rapids' major case team is investigating along with Canton and Dearborn Heights police, who say the FBI is involved and may soon take over the case.