Suspicious substance prompts evacuations at Santa Clara CAIR Muslim civil rights offices

- A suspicious white substance has prompted evacuations at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) offices in Santa Clara.  

CAIR is an organization dedicated to the civil rights of those who are Muslim, located at 3000 Scott Blvd. 

Employees were taken to a hospital for evaluation as precautionary measure. 

Everyone inside CAIR's office and other businesses at the two-story building at 3000 Scott Blvd. were evacuated as of 2:30 p.m., said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Bay Area chapter of CAIR.

Billoo said she was not at the office this afternoon.

CAIR workers notified police and the FBI soon after the discovery, she said.

Santa Clara Fire Department responded to the scene.

As of shortly after 6 p.m. the substance remained unidentified and the building was being decontaminated, according to Billoo. 

The Washington, D.C., CAIR office was evacuated on Thursday afternoon after a "foreign substance" was found in a piece of mail, but preliminary field tests determined the substance was not hazardous. The FBI is investigating that incident.

Preliminary tests of the substance sent to the Washington office showed it was not dangerous and the FBI now has possession of the letter, which they will continue to test, the organization said on Twitter.

Brice Hamack, CAIR's Northern California civil rights coordinator, said he was one of three people at the Santa Clara office when they found the substance.

Hamack said he was outside of the building as of around 2:30 p.m. and did not know of any injuries reported.

“It’s really disappointing and really annoying, right, that there are people, hate mongers out there who would try and intimidate an office of people who are working to protect the civil rights of Americans,” said Athar Siddiqee, former CAIR Bay Area president, who spoke with KTVU.  

 

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