The Arabic writing above “Aaron Wieder” says “Harun,” which is Aaron in Arabic and suggests that the threatener was not just someone who saw the Islamic State beheadings on the news and thought they were cool. This could be a genuine jihad threat, or it could be someone who thinks it is fun to terrorize people he dislikes. In either case, jihad is in the air.
Did Aron Wieder receive this threat because he is a member of the group that the Qur’an says are the worst enemies of the Muslims (5:82)?
Rockland County Legislator Aron Wieder said he’s been looking over his shoulder since receiving a threatening picture in which his face is superimposed on an ISIS prisoner about to be beheaded.
A Rockland County legislator who received a threatening picture earlier this week said Friday the message of violence and intimidation will not deter him from serving his constituents.
Legislator Aron Wieder, D-Spring Valley, said the chilling color image, in which his face is superimposed on the body of an ISIS prisoner about to be beheaded, was sent in an envelope postmarked from Monsey to his county office. He opened it while the Legislature was in session Monday, he said.
“I opened the letter and I was completely shocked. I literally had shivers running down my spine,” Wieder said.
The legislator excused himself from county business and walked the picture over to Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco, who was at the meeting.
Falco said Friday the case has been under active investigation.
“We’re taking this very seriously as a threat and will be working with our partners in law enforcement and the FBI to try to track down who sent this,” he said.
To anyone who has seen coverage of the recent ISIS beheadings, the image would appear familiar. There is a male body dressed in orange kneeling in a barren landscape before a man shrouded in black. A picture of Wieder’s smiling face is crudely placed over the victim’s head. The legislator’s name also appears in English text below Arabic writing. An ISIS flag flies in the background.
Though evoking the terror tactics of the brutal Islamic State, who sent the image and why remains unclear.
Wieder, who said the name written on the envelope was “Moshe Muhammad,” also could not speculate about the image’s sender, but believes the intent is clear.
“It’s meant to intimidate and to shock,” he said. “If it’s someone who is sympathetic toward ISIS or someone who is hateful toward the Orthodox community is no matter. It’s equally disgusting.”
Wieder, the County Legislature’s only Hasidic member, was elected to the governing body in 2011. He previously served as vice president, and later president, of the East Ramapo Board of Education. This year, he unsuccessfully tried to represent the Democratic Party in the race for the Assembly District 98. He currently serves as majority leader of the County Legislature.
In a statement Friday, Rockland County Executive Ed Day called the threat “one of the most vile and despicable renderings” he has seen.
“To make a political point by using imagery depicting ISIS beheading an innocent person shows total disrespect to those victims,” Day said. “To direct this message to an elected official attacks the very core of the freedoms so many have given their lives to secure and protect.”
The Legislature’s chairman, Alden Wolfe, D-Suffern, agreed.
“It’s certainly troubling,” Wolfe said. “I hope that the person who sent the threat is caught and prosecuted.”
Wieder thanked his colleagues and residents who have expressed their support and concern over the threat.
“The message of violence and intimidation that was sent has been met with a sentiment of resolve to apprehend the individual or group responsible for the threat, and a sense of purpose to continue to serve my constituents in office as I have for years,” he said. “This threat will not deter me in any way, nor will it dampen my commitment to advance the best interests of all Rocklanders.”