(ORLANDO, FL, 9/25/06) - On September 23, the Orlando office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Orlando) held a news conference outside a Florida mosque that was targeted in a sniper attack during Ramadan prayers Friday night.
Representatives from CAIR-Florida, Islamic Society of Brevard County, FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Melbourne Police Department spoke in support of the Muslim community and sent a message that hate crime perpetrators will be found and brought to justice. They also urged the public to report any information related to the mosque shooting to the authorities.
SEE VIDEO NEWS COVERAGE:
WFTS ABC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8cBYWfVa1I
WFLA NBC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw0M8NrsZuo
SEE PHOTOS: http://www.flickr.com/photos/10168364@N00/sets/72157594297790563/
"An attack on one house of worship is an attack on all houses of worship," said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier. "We should not allow events that happen overseas to affect what happens in our country." He also called upon Governor Jeb Bush to step up police patrols of mosques and Islamic centers in Florida.
According to news reports, shots were fired at the Islamic Society of Brevard County, narrowly missing a worshipper.
SEE: Sniper Shooting at Brevard Mosque http://www.cfnews13.com/StoryHeadline.aspx?id=18834
Commander Ron Bell of the Melbourne Police Department, FDLE Special Agent Supervisor Bob O'Connor and FBI special agent Kevin Farrington all said that they are increasing security at the mosque. The shooting is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
Last week, CAIR released its 2006 Civil Rights report in which it indicated an almost 30 percent increase in the total number of complaints of anti-Muslim bias from 2004 to 2005.
CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.