BOSTON (CBS) — Celtics player Enes Kanter said he was threatened outside of a Cambridge mosque after a prayer service Friday. The center told reporters at practice on Saturday that he has been in touch with the police and the FBI.
Kanter posted a three-minute video on Twitter that shows multiple people standing outside the mosque. “Turkish Government doesn’t even let me practice my religion freely in America let alone my freedom of speech is under attack,” he wrote, tagging police and the FBI.
Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern retweeted the video and said he was “saddened to see this kind of behavior.” He added the police commissioner was made aware of the situation and “if you need anything, my Office is here to help.”
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 4, 2019
Kanter also recalled the incident at practice Saturday. “We were just outside and there were just these two guys, as you can see in the video that they were just like, they were just waiting for us. So when we went outside and they were just, they were screaming, they were yelling, they were cursing [in Turkish],” he said. “It was pretty crazy because this is America. People should be safe to come in a mosque and just pray peacefully.”
Fellow Celtics player Tacko Fall can also be seen in the video. The two players just had to stand there until their Uber arrived, Kanter said.
He added that he has received an outpouring of support, including a text from the mayor. In the meantime, he is looking into more security.
“This is not about Boston, this is about Turkish people so I will never ever blame Boston or people in Boston. I will definitely blame the Turkish people and the Turkish government,” said Kanter.
Kanter said this is the first time he’s experienced something like this in the U.S. The player is an outspoken critic of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who he says has “undemocratic and dictator-like ways of leading.”
Turkey has pushed back at Kantor in the past. In 2017, his passport was revoked, and at one point he was a target of Turkish police while on a trip to Indonesia.
“It was pretty crazy because this is America,” Kanter said. “People should be safe to come in a mosque and just pray peacefully.”
Kanter said he was scared in the moment but won’t be scared into silence.
“I’m talking about democracy, freedom, freedom of speech, religion and expression. I’m talking about justice,” he said. “So just because I’m talking about these issues I’m gonna get threats? I’ll take that.”
Kanter signed with the Celtics in July. Just days ago, he brought cookies for reporters on media day.
As of Friday night, Cambridge police said no official report had been filed for the incident. The FBI said they were aware of the incident but did not comment further.