CAIR: ISLAMIC OFFICIALS CRITICAL OF PROBE DELAY
More than two months after officials at the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for an investigation into a video of a man shooting a copy of the Quran and throwing it on the doorstep of a local mosque, authorities said they are unsure if they will prosecute.
"It is contingent upon how long it takes us to gather and investigate the material," said Cynthia Magnuson, spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Justice.
She said there is no timeline regarding when a decision will be made.
That doesn't sit well with officials with the Annour Islamic Center here in Chattanooga who view the act as a hate crime.
"We strongly feel that this is taking too long," said Khalid Hashmi, spokesman for the Islamic Center at 1410 Cemetery Ave. "We feel that a decision should be quickly made because all the information is readily available."
Arsalan Iftikhar, national legal director with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he, too, is concerned with the delay.
"It is very disconcerting to see that two men who shoot up a Quran with a semi-automatic rifle and throw it on the front steps of a Tennessee mosque would not be promptly prosecuted for religious intimidation," he said. "This racist act is the millennial moral equivalent of burning a cross in front of an African-American church."
Federal authorities in Chattanooga said they passed information on to the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division in July, when officials at the Council on American-Islamic Relations discovered the video clip titled "kill the koran" posted on MySpace. com, an online networking service.