(PHOENIX, AZ, 7/14/16) - The Arizona chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-AZ) today called on law enforcement authorities to investigate the motive for a fire that appeared to be intentionally set outside the Islamic Center of Tucson Wednesday morning.
Worshippers at early morning prayers smelled smoke and immediately called 911 after seeing a recycling container set on fire. The fire was extinguished without any injuries or further damage to the facility.
"With multiple incidents targeting this specific mosque in the past year, there is definitely cause for concern about a possible bias motive for the fire," said Imraan Siddiqi, CAIR-Arizona's executive director. "We hope that law enforcement exhausts every lead possible, as our Tucson community members feel a sense of compromised safety. All Americans have the right to access their house of worship without fear of being targeted."
Previously, the mosque dealt with ongoing issues of vandalism and objects being hurled at the facility from neighboring apartments.
Additionally, a recently resettled Syrian refugee family in Tucson was targeted by a hateful note on their home, saying "Terrorists go home!"
CAIR-AZ is asking for additional patrols in the area, and for anyone with further knowledge of this incident to please notify law enforcement.
CAIR recently issued a national community security alert urging Muslim community leaders to consider instituting additional security measures in the wake of the Orlando massacre and a number of recent hate incidents targeting Muslims and Islamic houses of worship.
Incidents targeting American Muslims and their religious institutions have spiked in recent months, prompted at least in part by anti-Muslim rhetoric employed by public figures like Donald Trump.
The Arizona chapter of the Washington-based civil rights organization is also asking community leaders to implement long-term safety measures outlined in its booklet, "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety," which was published in response to previous attacks on American mosques.
A free copy of the booklet may be requested by going to: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html
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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