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CAIR-Chicago to Hold Press Conference on Hate Incidents Targeting Illinois Muslims

Incidents include threats to kill Arab-American Muslim high school students, threat sent to mosque

(CHICAGO, IL, 2/20/2015) -- Later today, the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) will hold a press conference about a series of hate incidents reported to its office recently. In all cases, CAIR-Chicago took statements from the victims and reported the incidents to the local police and the FBI.

[NOTE: In January, CAIR-Chicago reported death threats posted on Facebook targeting the Mosque Foundation community in Bridgeview, Ill. Video: CAIR Works with FBI on Threat to Chicago Mosque]

WHAT: CAIR-Chicago News Conference on Recent Hate Incidents Targeting Illinois Muslims
WHEN: Friday, February 20, 4 p.m.
WHERE: CAIR-Chicago Office, 17 N State, Chicago IL 60602
CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, 202.870-0166; CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Renner Larson, 312.212.1520

Islamophobic, Racist Hate Graffiti Threatens Arabs, Muslims at South Suburban Public High SchoolSandburg-graffiti

CAIR-Chicago received multiple complaints from parents about Islamophobic and racist hate graffiti at Sandburg High School in District 230. The threats were scrawled on the boys bathroom stalls. The school did not go on lockdown and parents were not notified.

Threats include: "I'll kill all the arab muslims and islam" [sic] and "All Islam will be killed in this school."

Images sent to CAIR-Chicago reveal three other graffiti such as: "F*** the Arabs" - "Kill the Arabs" and - "Death to the Islamic people."Sandburg-graffiti-2

The threat was initially reported to CAIR-Chicago office on February 5 and a letter was sent to the school on February 6 demanding full investigation, safety measures, parents/students and staff notification, and for sensitivity training for staff. It was reported that the school went on soft lockdown on Friday afternoon after the letter was sent, and on the following Monday, February 9.

CAIR-Chicago has requested a formal meeting with the school administration and concerned parents in order to address safety and notification protocols. CAIR-Chicago has also learned that this is at least the second incident involving hate graffiti at the school since January 2015.

"Our paramount concern is for safety of all students, staff and faculty. We requested that the threat be taken seriously, particularly given its specificity, like any other death threat, and for parents to be updated on investigation progress, staff training, and increased security precautions taken," said CAIR-Chicago attorney Rabya Khan.

McHenry County Mosque Receives Threatening Letter

The American Muslim Community Organization (AMCO), a relatively new mosque located in Lake in the Hills in McHenry County, reported the threatening letter to CAIR-Chicago on February 6.

Excerpts from the letter include. "We are praying for civil war so we can start shooting you slime bags" -- "We can't wait until it's ok to start bombing you f***ers and your kids so we can reduce the number of slime bags being born into this world, of ours" -- and "You like your radical relatives serve no positive purpose on earth. Keep you (sic) eyes open."

"It's always disheartening when a good community receives a letter of hate. We are taking all sensible precautions to protect our patrons, and we thank our local community, police department, and faith organizations who continue to support a safe, diverse, and cooperative community," said Dr. Fazal Khan, mosque board president.

"The rise in hate incidents in the Chicagoland area over the past few weeks is an alarming development that we have seen mirrored in other parts of the country. In all cases, the misguided hate messages and death threats target innocent individuals that have nothing to do with news headlines people may be reacting to. The President's recent remarks about American Muslims are important and timely, and we need to see more politicians including Illinois politicians speak up for sanity," said Ahmed Rehab, CAIR-Chicago executive director.

Rehab said other reported incidents will be discussed at the press conference.

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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CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Executive Director, Ahmed Rehab, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 312.212.1520 or 202.870.0166 (cell); CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator, Renner Larson, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 312.212.1520, CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202.744.7726, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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