(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/20/2014) -- A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization today called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for a shooting incident targeting a Mississippi mosque.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said police are investigating a Tuesday incident in which several shots were fired into doors, windows and walls of the Islamic Center of Hattiesburg. Police are currently looking into the incident as an act of "malicious mischief," but CAIR is urging a probe of a possible hate motive.
"We have seen too many attacks on mosques nationwide to ignore the possibility of a bias motive for this shooting incident," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
Hooper noted that CAIR's Washington state chapter recently held a news conference to ask the FBI to investigate apparently bias-motivated incidents targeting a mosque in that state.
Just yesterday, a man threatened staff at CAIR's Columbus, Ohio, office.
Also recently, CAIR's Sacramento Valley chapter called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate vandalism of a California mosque as a possible hate crime.
In December, CAIR urged a hate crime probe of graffiti sprayed on the Islamic Society of Appalachian Region near Princeton, W.Va. The graffiti spray-painted on the mosque and its sign made obscene references to "Allah," the Arabic word for God. Mosque members say the house of worship was similarly targeted following the 9/11 terror attacks.
CAIR recently welcomed an arrest in the case of a Joplin, Mo., mosque targeted by arson in 2012.
In response to previous attacks on American mosques, CAIR published a booklet called "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety" designed to be used by mosque officials, Muslim school administrators and other community leaders and activists who seek to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities to bias-motivated attacks.
To request a free e-copy of CAIR's "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety," go to: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html
CAIR recently published a major report, "Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States," which identifies 37 organizations dedicated to promoting the type of anti-Islam prejudice that can lead to bias-motivated incidents targeting American Muslims.
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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, firstname.lastname@example.org