Hazmat crew finds white powder at Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati is not hazardous

Package with white powder and a threat delivered
Posted at 12:53 PM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 19:09:50-04

WEST CHESTER, Ohio -- Hazardous material crews determined a white substance that was delivered to the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati Tuesday was non-hazardous.

A package with white powder and a threat inside was reported at 11:25 a.m., according to officials. A staff member opened the letter and found the threat and powdery substance inside. 

West Chester spokesperson Barb Wilson couldn't immediately say what the threat stated.

An initial test of the substance gave an inconclusive result. A second test confirmed that the substance was not hazardous.

"We, at the Center, are deeply appreciative of the work of law enforcement personnel, fire department, the HAZMAT team, and West Chester Township," the center said in a news release.

A youth basketball camp with at least a dozen teenagers had been going on at the time. The building was not evacuated during the scare. Everyone inside was isolated in one area.

Members of the Islamic Center called the threat disturbing and said their biggest concern is to protect the children as best they can.

"We want them to play a constructive role and grow up to be productive American citizens," Inayat Malik said. "Yet as the same time, we don't want them to feel threatened and insecure."

The mosque was closed for afternoon services, but all services were back on schedule as of Tuesday evening.

"We are disappointed that some individual/individuals would to resort intimidation and harassment of a place of worship," the center said in a news release. "This runs counter to each and every American Value. At the same time we are appreciative of the many individuals and institutions in the community who have expressed their support. We remain committed to our mission of community outreach and promoting interfaith understanding and harmony among Americans of all ethnicities and backgrounds. "

West Chester police said the threat was not directed at any one person. The investigation is ongoing.

The Islamic Center has been threatened before. Police investigated a bomb threat that was called in and left as a voicemail in March.

The Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati opened in 1995 on 18 highly-visible acres between Interstate 75’s Cincinnati-Dayton Road and Tylersville Road exits.

The center has served the local Muslim community by providing a place to worship and learn, as well as serving as a gathering place for families and the community. It also hosts tours for the community and local school groups.