Being Threatened for Being Catholic

Hello fellow CAF members:

I am a college student and recently, one of my classmates told me of her plight:

Even though both of her parents are Catholic, she has family members who are Muslims–radical Muslims. They have made threats against their lives and have said they plan on killing them for their beliefs if any action is taken against them in the form of the authorities. I seriously doubt she is making any of this up, since she was almost in tears when she told me. She does not know what to do and asked me for my advice. I looked up some things in the Catechism, but I have nothing particularly helpful.

She said that she has spoken to a nun whom she trusts and has prayed in front of a shrine to St. Anthony, but she said nothing has helped, and no one’s advice has worked.

Can anyone help me help her with her situation?

Anything is appreciated.

I am curious. Are these people making threats against persons other than there own relatives? Are they making threats against their relatives because of them being Catholic? What I’m getting at is if this is a situation involving terroristic threats, the authorities must be involved.

I agree with you, but she seems turned off to the idea since she said her life is on the line. She did not say if they were the only ones being threatened or not.

Have her contact her Bishop’s office. They may have someone on staff who can provide the proper advice and procedures.

It really doesn’t matter. Threats are threats. Anyone who says “Don’t tell on me or I will hurt you” really means, “I will hurt you.” By not telling, she is complicit in the threats and should something dire happen, and by chance she lives to tell about it, she would be in trouble also. It’s called willful blindness.

:shrug: I guess that is her choice, but I will see what she says if I word it carefully.

What does the bishop know about dealing with terroristic threats? I say leave him out of it.

I have a couple of questions to understand this situation better:

(1) Where does this woman and/or her relatives live? Are they born-and-raised Americans or recent immigrants from some Middle Eastern country? Because if it’s here in the U.S., this sounds way out there frankly, not that it couldn’t happen.

(2) What exactly had her Muslim relatives been doing that her Catholic relatives might have wanted to inform the authorities about? Merely being a “radical Muslim” isn’t against the law until violence was threatened. Had the Muslims been engaged in some illegal activity that the Catholics witnessed?

My suggestions: Start taking notes on dates, times, places, who said what exactly and did what exactly, and keep these notes in a safe place. Tell others “If anything happens to us, have the police question so-and-so.” Maybe contact the authorities anonymously to ask for advice before doing anything “ON the record.” You may have to do a bunch of calling to find the right person to talk to about this, because I’m betting it’s outside the experience of the local police department. Maybe try the county prosecutor’s office? They’re probably experienced with run-of-the-mill domestic violence and threats, not necessarily religious-affiliation related threats. Federal Homeland Security office? I don’t know. Do this contacting of authorities not from the house phone or anywhere they could be overheard, but from some friend’s house or public place. Boy, I sound like a conspiracy theorist suspecting the phones are bugged, don’t I? Just trying to take this threat seriously. It sounds so far out from the usual peaceful American suburban existence.

Actually, if they’re in the U.S., the local FBI and Dept. of Homeland Security will take the calls and help.

Wow…what a horrible situation :eek:

Are she and her parents in the US? Or overseas? If they are in the US, I would assume the best thing to do would be contact the police or a judge to put a restraining order on the rest of the family…and then cut ties. Tell her that she and her parents need to stay as far away from those people as possible and avoid contact at all costs. It would be best to start a paper trail of some sort. Save any threatening messages or letters she or her parents recieve.–That’s very important. In the US there are things we can do to protect ourselves from people like this…It wouldn’t hurt for them to get help from their parish.


If they are overseas, I’m not confident that any action taken would protect them…unless they go to their parish for help. I’m at a loss…

This must be a frustrating situation for her. I will pray for them.:gopray2:

  1. They live here in the United States and were born and raised here as far as I know. I do not know all of the details.

  2. I do not know if they had been doing anything. I am classmate she trusts and since the subject matter came up, she started to rant to me about all of the bad things going on in her life. I do not know if the Muslim family did any illegal that would cause dissention, but she said her grandma calls them (we Catholics) devil worshippers and cannibals and that we are going to rot in Hell. The whole side of the family feels that way. She said her uncle apparently tried to murder one of them once, but he was unsuccessful.

I know all of this sounds out of this world, but I have no reason to not believe her and presuming she is not lying, she needs help. I will be e-mailing her this weekend, so I will consider what everyone has said.

**This seems a bit nutty to me. A college student should have enough sense to know that people who threaten them shouldn’t be protected. I agree to being baffled by the notion of contacting the bishop or the school?:confused: **

If this is a case of domestic abuse - she can and should call the police.

**If this is a case of general hatred and desire to harm others, then **I would suggest SHE call the FBI. They are very easy to get a hold of and are listed in every phone book or one can call information for hte number.

If this is just a case of interfaith religion in a family causing hurt feelings and anger or whatever else, no one needs called.

It sounds like you don’t have much information to go on and don’t know her very well personally? If this is the case, ask her point blank if she feels threatened/scared for herself, her family, or for others outside of the home and go with my previous advice accordingly.

Again, this just seems a bit nutty to me. Tears don’t mean diddly. Oldest ploy in the book. The female sucker punch.

**On the bright side, if she’s a bit nutty you don’t have a terrorist/domestic abuse situation??:shrug: :wink: **

oh wow. i can only say, they might want to move. i am on myspace catholicism chat, and this protestant dude who converted his muslim friend to christianity, the ex-muslim family memebers stabbed the guy from my chat room. he had to go to the hospital and he has already moved somewhere else.

I think this must be handled very carefully. Most Middle-Eastern people are very big on family ties. It is very hard to break these ties. And there is her grandmother on the offensive…

To say to get away from these “family members” is one thing; actually doing it is majorly difficult. The USA is accepted as a melting pot that people can keep many of their cultural traditions. I am sure that this young lady and her folks have been trying to do that and feel absolutely torn.

The only advice I could give is to completely tear themselves away from the rest of their family. As I say, I know that this would be so hard for them… This poor girl has the double burden of being Catholic and Female (females frequently aren’t thought of as being worth much of anything in the MiddleEastern culture; and they’re supposed to be very subserviant).

My prayers for her and her family…

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