KENTWOOD- As worshippers came out of a Kentwood Islamic Center around 8:45 a.m. Monday, a woman approached them --- allegedly indicating she had a gun and making threats against the center --- Kentwood Police said.
Chairman Ali Metwalli of At- Tawheed Islamic Center told FOX 17 the woman demanded money and warned that she had a gun in her purse or would even "blow something up" if people didn’t give her cash.
Worshippers called 911 inside the locked center while the woman remained outside. No one was hurt and she is in custody.
“If she came in at any time when the place is open and asked for money, if she proves that she needs it, we would have helped her, rather than come in and create the kind of a commotion at the beginning of the year," Metwalli said. "It’s unfortunate.”
The Michigan State Police bomb squad inspected the woman’s purse and coat. They also investigated her car in the neighboring strip mall where it was parked.
According to Captain Richard Roberts of the Kentwood Police Department, with the help of robots and a K-9, investigators found no evidence that this woman was carrying weapons.
“She’s an American woman in her thirties," Roberts said. "It was reported she was here last week and asked for some scarves which the Islamic Center did provide for her. She said she had converted to Islam.”
Metwalli and Roberts said At-Tawheed Islamic Center has never had any other threats against it.
“We don’t take it in any way, shape, or form as a threat to the Muslim community," Metwalli said.