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FBI Probes Mystery Substance Sent To Muslim Group's Santa Clara Office

SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) -- The FBI is part of an investigation into a suspicious substance delivered to a Council on American-Islamic Relations office in Santa Clara on Thursday.

Officers and fire crews responded to a report of an envelope containing white powder at CAIR's office at a two-story building at 3000 Scott Blvd. at about 1:15 p.m., police Lt. Kurt Clarke said.

Firefighters responded to the scene, evacuated the building and called for a hazardous materials team that found the envelope, Clarke said.

The team conducted an investigation that continued into the night with help from Santa Clara County Fire Department, according to Clarke.

Three employees at the office were taken to a hospital as a precaution and were released later that night, according to the advocacy group's Bay Area executive director Zahra Billoo, who was not at the office on Thursday afternoon.

FBI investigators who also responded to the scene Thursday collected evidence and took possession of the letter, which is being processed at a lab, FBI spokeswoman Michele Ernst said.

Earlier on Thursday the group's headquarters in Washington D.C.  was evacuated due to a "foreign substance" found in the mail, the organization said on Twitter.

Preliminary tests of the substance sent to the Washington D.C.  office showed it was not dangerous and the FBI will continue to test the letter, the organization said on Twitter.

CAIR's Santa Clara office was not reopened Friday and the organization is working with law enforcement officials to make sure all safety measures are taken, Billoo said.

"Our biggest concern is the rise in Islamophobia and hate attacks on American Muslims across the country. We are worried about how normal this is becoming," Billoo said.


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