Anti-Muslim graffiti found after FBI search in Michigan
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/22/02) - Relatives of a Dearborn, Mich., Muslim arrested last week while allegedly carrying counterfeit checks say they found anti-Islamic graffiti scrawled in the man's house following a search by the FBI and Secret Service. The man, a Jordanian-American, was arrested Wednesday after he arrived in Detroit on a flight from Indonesia.
Relatives told the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group, they found the words "Islam is Evil" and " Christ is King" written on a Muslim prayer calendar attached to the man's refrigerator. (Contact CAIR to obtain a copy of the calendar.) CAIR is calling on Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate the incident.
The man's brother said he and his wife were babysitting in the house last Thursday when officers of the two agencies came to search the premises. It was after being handcuffed, questioned and fingerprinted that family members say they discovered the slurs.
In a letter to Ashcroft, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote:
"While law enforcement authorities have the right, and even the duty, to follow all legitimate leads in the search for those who would cause harm to our nation, they do not have the right to insult the religious beliefs of those they are questioning.
"American Muslims want to do their part in protecting our nation and will offer any information that might be useful in that effort. However, indications that those questioned will be subject to religious slurs or bias only serve to impede legitimate investigations.
"This incident is of particular concern to us because it does not reflect the professionalism and concern for due process exhibited by the many FBI officials and other law enforcement authorities CAIR has been in dialogue with on civil liberties issues since the tragic events of September 11, 2001."
Awad recommended the creation of a national civil liberties advisory panel that would consult with law enforcement officials to ensure that citizens' civil rights are maintained during this time of crisis. There are an estimated seven million Muslims in America and some 1.2 billion worldwide.