(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/19/13) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate vandalism of a West Virginia mosque as a possible hate crime.
Local officials are investigating hate graffiti sprayed on the Islamic Society of Appalachian Region near Princeton, W.Va., earlier this week. The graffiti spray-painted on the mosque and its sign made obscene references to "Allah," the Arabic word for God. Mosque members say the house of worship was similarly targeted following the 9/11 terror attacks.
"I have lived in Princeton West Virginia for more than 40 years. Most members of our congregation have lived in this area for more than 25 years. Our children attend the local schools. We feel that we are part and parcel of this community. This hurts us because it feels like the perpetrators hate us as a group," said Dr. Abdul Rashid Piracha, a leader of the mosque.
"Just as we have requested following past hate incidents targeting American mosques, we urge the FBI to join with local authorities in investigating this case and bringing the perpetrators to justice," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
Hooper said CAIR recently welcomed an arrest in the case of a Joplin, Mo., mosque targeted by arson in 2012.
In response to previous attacks on American mosques, CAIR published a booklet called "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety" designed to be used by mosque officials, Muslim school administrators and other community leaders and activists who seek to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities to bias-motivated attacks.
CAIR recently published a major report, "Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States," which identifies 37 organizations dedicated to promoting the type of anti-Islam prejudice that can lead to bias-motivated incidents targeting American Muslims.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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