NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An unknown person tapped into ISIS terror imagery to intimidate a Rockland County politician, in a delivery with criminal implications.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported exclusively Thursday night, the hate mail arrived in a plain brown envelope addressed to Rockland County Legislator Aaron Weider (D-Spring Valley.)
“I had shivers running down the spine,” Weider said.
It featured a shocking image of his face placed on the body of a captive about to be beheaded, in a frame taken from an ISIS terror video.
“The first reaction was with shock. I just didn’t know what to do and what to think,” Weider said. “I think the picture clearly depicts the message.”
Weider is perhaps the highest-profile Hasidic Jewish leader in the state. He already holds a countywide office, and he recently ran, and narrowly lost, a bid to join the New York State Assembly.
Police were anxious Thursday night to find out who could be behind the apparent threat.
“I take this very seriously,” said Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco III. “We’re looking at it. It’s under investigation with ourselves and our joint terrorism task force.”
The message was postmarked Saturday, Dec. 13, and arrived in Monday’s mail. Weider immediately gave it to the Sheriff.
No one else at the Rockland County Legislature had even the seen piece of hate mail until CBS2 showed it to them.
“That’s disgusting,” said Rockland County Legislator Patrick Maroney (R-Spring Valley.) “That’s disgusting.”
“I don’t know what to say,” said Rockland County Legislator Michael Grant (D-Haverstraw.) “I’m shocked.”
There was no written component to the message, other than Weider’s name translated into Arabic. The writing on the bottom appeared to be from the original ISIS video.
People who have been trying to get the insular ultra-Orthodox sects to open up more worried that the hate mail could be a setback.
“When you have someone sending these things, it may tell other people in the community, you know, take a step back; hide; don’t be out there,” said Yossi Gestetner of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council.
“Whatever it is, it’s frightening,” added Benny Polatseck of Ramapo, “very frightening.”
And for many who wear their faith out in the open daily, the hate mail brought a new chill to the air.
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