CAIR APPLAUDS FIRING OF FL BUS DRIVER WHO SPIT ON MUSLIM KIDS
(TAMPA, FL, 7/26/07) - The Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) today applauded the firing of a school bus driver who allegedly cursed and spit at Muslim children in a Florida restaurant.
According to the children's mother, she and her children were eating at a Taco Bell in Lynn Haven, Fla., in May when the man began to scream religious slurs such as "you Muslim bast**ds."
The assailant then reportedly spit food on a five-year-old child and shoved his 11-year-old brother. When the mother asked why the man was acting in such an abusive manner, he allegedly replied: "My problem is that you are f**king Muslims." The alleged assailant, who was at the time a Bay County school bus driver, was eventually arrested and charged with two counts of evidencing prejudice while committing an offense. He will appear in court August 22.
SEE: School Bus Driver Fired After Alleged Hate Crime
"We applaud the board of Bay District Schools for taking appropriate action to ensure the safety and well-being of students," said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier. Bedier said that he had requested the firing in a letter sent to school district officials on July 2.
Earlier this month, CAIR-Tampa held a news conference in Panama City to ask that hate crime charges be maintained in the case. Florida Statute 775.085 allows enhanced penalties for crimes evidencing "prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, mental or physical disability, or advanced age of the victim."
SEE ALSO: Fla. School Bus Driver Accused of Harassment
Also this month, arsonists torched a Muslim family's home in Sarasota, Fla. The interior and exterior surfaces of the home were covered with ant-Muslim slurs. CAIR-Tampa and fire officials announced a $10,000 reward in that case.
SEE: Reward for Arsonists Announced at $10K
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.
CONTACT: CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier, 813-731-9506, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com