A prominent member of the Jacksonville community, who is the former chair of the Council on American Islamic Relations, is speaking out about an alleged plot to attack the The Islamic Center of North East Florida.
69-year-old Bernadino Bolatete is under arrest after police say he plotted to carry out a mass shooting at the local Islamic Center.
The East Arlington man reportedly told an undercover officer he hated Muslims- and the conversation was secretly recorded.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office coordinated the investigation with both the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Parvez Ahmed is a professor of finance at UNF and former chair of the Council on American Islamic Relations.
“We are certainly grateful to local law enforcement for their quick action," said Parvez Ahmed, a professor of finance at UNF and former chair of the Council on American Islamic Relations.
"Who knows how terrible the fallout might have been if he had been able to go through with it. But at the same time, we cannot lose sight of the big picture. Hate crimes are on the rise,” said Ahmed.
Meanwhile, Bolatete faces multiple charges in the case.
Listen to Ahmed's full interview on Tuesday's First Coast Connect podcast: