(SAN DIEGO, CA, 3/24/19) – The San Diego office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SD) today condemned an apparent arson attack on a mosque in Escondido, Calif., early this morning in which the suspect left a note referencing the terrorist attacks on mosques in New Zealand.
SEE: Suspect of Possible Arson Attack at Escondido Mosque Leaves Note Referencing New Zealand Terrorist Attacks
CAIR-SD is also calling for stepped-up security and police protection at Islamic institutions in the state as a result of the arson attack, hate-filled protests outside a Los Angeles CAIR event featuring Rep. Ilhan Omar on Saturday night and several anti-Muslim incidents nationwide in the wake of the New Zealand attacks.
SEE: Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar Says Trump's "Islam Hates Us" Stance Helped Inspire New Zealand Mosque Attacks
Police are investigating a fire that broke out at 3 a.m. Sunday at the Islamic Center of Escondido as arson and a hate crime. Someone was inside the mosque at the time of fire and was able to put the blaze out before firefighters arrived. One side of the mosque was scorched. Police do not have a description of the suspect, and no arrests have been made.
In a statement, CAIR-SD Executive Director Dustin Craun said:
“A little more than a week after 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand were brutally massacred at the hands of a white supremacist terrorist who cited Donald Trump in his hate manifesto, that same hatred has resurfaced in Escondido. It is disturbing enough that some sick individual would attempt to burn a house of worship to the ground, but referencing the slayings in New Zealand is beyond the pale. While the majority of humanity has responded to the tragedy to draw closer to one another and refute hatred, a violent and hate-filled minority seeks further divisions.
“We are grateful that someone was inside the mosque and was able to act quickly to put the fire out. We ask anyone with information to come forward and contact the Escondido Police Department. We stand in solidarity with our community members who attend the Islamic Center of Escondido.”
[MEDIA ADVISORY: An interfaith vigil and prayer will be held in front of the mosque tonight. WHERE/WHEN: Masjid Dar-ul Arqam, 318 W. 6th Ave., Escondido. Interfaith Prayer and Security Vigil 8-8:15 p.m., followed by Isha prayer outside the mosque at 8:45 p.m. CONTACT: CAIR-San Diego Executive Director Dustin Craun, 303-667-4027, firstname.lastname@example.org]
On Friday, CAIR welcomed stepped-up security measures by Maryland law enforcement after an online threat targeting a mosque in that state.
SEE: CAIR Welcomes Stepped-Up Security After Online Threat Targeting Maryland Mosque
Last week, CAIR distributed video of a national community safety webinar it held with two Department of Homeland Security (DHS) security experts in response to the recent terror attack on two New Zealand mosques and subsequent Islamophobic incidents in other countries, including the United States.
Video: Watch CAIR Islamic Community Safety Webinar Offering Info on Active Shooters, Attack Threats, Emergency Planning
CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.
CAIR 2018 Civil Rights Report: Targeted
CAIR: Anti-Muslim Assaults Have Tripled Since a Decade Ago, FBI Stats Show
Video: CAIR-Arizona Calls for Stepped-Up Security After Man Arrested for Threats at Phoenix Mosque
NYPD Hate Crimes Detectives Investigating Attack on Muslim Woman in Brooklyn
The Washington-based civil rights organization is urging mosques and other Islamic institutions to take measures outlined in its "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety" booklet. Advice offered in CAIR’s security publication is applicable to all institutions, regardless of organizational mission.
The booklet may be viewed at: https://tinyurl.com/BestSafetyPractices
CAIR plans to re-publish 3,000 hard copies of the booklet to send free of charge to mosques and Islamic institutions nationwide.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR-San Diego Executive Director Dustin Craun, 303-667-4027, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org