The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and local Oregon law enforcement agencies investigated a threat against Washington County mosques early Wednesday morning, law enforcement sources say.
An FBI spokeswoman says there is currently no credible threat against any Muslim communities in Oregon.
"Earlier today, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force identified a possible threat to Islamic organizations in Oregon," spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said in a statement. "The FBI immediately notified our local law enforcement partners who increased patrols as appropriate."
The Washington County Sheriff's Office sent deputies to patrol the area around a targeted mosque from about 6 am to 2 pm, an agency spokesman told WW. He referred further questions to the FBI.
The JTTF investigates hundreds of possible threats each year, and the move to release a statement on a threat that resolved without an arrest or incident is unusual. Steele says the FBI wrote the press release in response to media inquiries.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations of Oregon tweeted that law enforcement had informed Washington County mosques about a threat and confirmed later in the day that the threat had been resolved. Advocates say law enforcement's response shows that they are taking possible threats against Muslims in Oregon seriously.
"We appreciate law enforcement's response to this issue and we're appreciative of their work safeguarding the Muslim community today," says Zakir Khan, chair at CAIR-Oregon. "Not only in the wake of what happened in New Zealand, but with all of the Islamophobia that we're seeing online, we've just become increasingly concerned about the safety of our community. And that's why the law enforcement response today is really important."
Portland City Council voted to sever ties between the Portland Police Bureau and the JTTF in February. It's unclear whether PPB was informed of the threats or involved in the investigation.
Update, 11:45 a.m. Apr. 25: JTTF officials informed the Portland Police about threats to Portland-area mosques in the early morning on April 24.
"We are acutely aware of the horrific and deadly terrorist acts that occurred at houses of worship in Pittsburgh, Christchurch, and Sri Lanka," Portland Chief Danielle Outlaw said in a press release. "We will continue to protect houses of worship and religious community centers. All people deserve to be free from the fear of violence."
A PPB spokesman says the agency dispatched some patrol officers to monitor a mosque in Portland until the threat had been resolved.