DEARBORN - American Muslims go to their places of worship increasingly under the fear of intimidation and violence.
Bigots are launching hate attacks on Muslims at their places of worship with seeming impunity; their onslaught ranges from the frightening to the bizarre.
The Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that the attacks are "increasing," but this week marks a particularly aggressive surge of anti-Muslim violence.
One Michigan City mosque in Indiana had its windows smashed and dome shot. At another mosque, in Tennessee, someone tossed a copy of the Qur'an, riddled with bullets, at the center's front door. And in Maine, worshippers were engaged in congregational prayer when a local tossed a dead pig's head into the prayer hall.
In Michigan City, "on July 2, Porter County police received a report of bullets shot into the center's copper dome, leaving six holes. Also, two glass doors, 10 windows, and a spotlight were vandalized, possibly by a BB gun, according to a police report," said the "Northwest Indiana Times."
In Tennessee, an FBI investigation has opened after a video of two men shooting a Qur'an and tossing it at a Chattanooga mosque surfaced on MySpace.com.
"In the footage, a 33-year-old man, who identified himself as mully88, is shown outside a Barnes & Noble Booksellers store holding a paperback copy of the Qur'an. He and another man then are seen shooting at the holy book in a wooded area with what is identified as a Colt M-16.
"In the last scene, mully88 is seen throwing the damaged Qur'an onto the sidewalk outside the Islamic Center at 1410 Cemetery Ave," reported the "Chattanooga Times Free Press."
Mully88's website includes a montage of swastikas and illegal high-powered firearms, all while white supremacist music plays in the background.
And in Lewiston, Maine, a man rolled a frozen pig's head into the local Islamic Center while Somali immigrants offered their prayers. Brent Matthews was arrested by police for the incident, an act which Matthews explained to police he had thought "was funny; it was going to be a big joke."
Ibrahim Hooper, Communications Director for CAIR's national office, said the attacks "seem to be a disturbing trend happening to mosques nationwide. … And we would hope the nation's political and religious leadership would address the rising level of Islamophobia which leads to such attacks."