US Muslims threatened after 'American Sniper'

'American Sniper' is named as one of the Oscar nominees for Best Picture during the Academy Awards Nominations Announcement at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, January 15, 2015 (AFP Photo/Mark Ralston)

Washington (AFP) - Muslims are facing increased threats in the United States after the release of the movie "American Sniper," an American-Arab organization said in letters to director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper.

In the open letters released earlier this week, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said there has been a spike in violent threats against Muslims due to the film that portrays the story of an American sniper during the Iraq war.

"A majority of the violent threats we have seen over the past few days are (a) result of how Arab and Muslims are depicted in American Sniper," the ADC said.

The group said it had received hundreds of violent messages from viewers of the film, many of them through social media.

The ADC notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local police about the threats and asked the two Hollywood stars to condemn the violent rhetoric used by filmgoers.

"Your visibility, influence, and connection to the film would be a tremendous force in drawing attention to and lessening the serious dangers facing the respective communities," the letters signed by ADC president Samer Khalaf said.

The movie released this month is based on the true story of an American solider Chris Kyle deployed in Iraq.

The film has earned six Oscar nominations and sparked a debate in the US over the occupation of Iraq and the depiction of veterans in popular culture.