Leaders say incident may be part of nationwide increase in attacks targeting American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim
(SEATTLE, WA, 11/25/2016) – On Monday, November 28, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA), along with local Muslim, interfaith and community leaders, will hold a news conference to call on the FBI to investigate an apparently bias-motivated attack targeting a Muslim female University of Washington (UW) Muslim student at the UW campus in Seattle. The alleged victim will also speak at the press conference. CAIR-WA will also announce a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for attack.
On November 15, 2016, the Muslim female UW Seattle student, an American Muslim born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, was walking on campus when she was reportedly hit in the face with a glass bottle by a man who then walked away. (UW Police Report # 2016-00015672.) The incident, which possibly fits a pattern of hate attacks against American Muslim women locally and nationwide, has caused a wave of concern among Muslim students for their own safety. Furthermore, after speaking with the victim, campus organizations, and the UW Police Department (UW PD) chief, CAIR-WA and Muslim students were alarmed to learn that no public communication has been sent by UW/UW PD to inform the campus community that this incident took place on campus, or any effort to ask witnesses or the public to come forward with information about the attacker.
CAIR is also asking for the public’s help in identifying the perpetrator of the attack. [NOTE: Anyone with information about case should contact the FBI-Seattle field office at 206-622-0460.]
WHAT: Interfaith and Community Leaders to Seek Federal Hate Crime Investigation of Attack Targeting Muslim female UW Seattle student
WHEN: Monday, November 28, 12 p.m.
WHERE: University of Washington Seattle campus, on the ‘Red Square’ near the Gerberding Hall. See driving and parking directions here: http://www.washington.edu/leadership/gerberding-hall-driving-parking-directions/
The incident appears to possibly fit a pattern of increased hate-motivated violence nationwide targeting persons and property associated, or perceived to be associated, with Islam and the American Muslim community.
"As we see two straight years of record high anti-Muslim hate attacks nationwide, law enforcement authorities must send a strong message that people of all faiths, races and ethnicities belong here and that our children can go to school without fear of violent hate attacks,” said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari. “The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office must also send a clear message to the public that those who violently attack Americans because of their race, religion, ethnicity, or other protected status will be met with the full force of the law.”
“We are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person who committed this attack. Anyone with information about the suspects should contact the FBI-Seattle field office at 206-622-0460.”
He noted that 2015 was a record year for reported anti-Muslim hate crimes nationwide: “Never before in our nation’s history, have reported anti-Muslim hate crimes been as high in number or in severity as in 2015. Throughout 2015, CAIR offices nationwide received, on average, at least 1-2 daily report of hate crimes targeting an American Muslim or someone perceived to be Muslim. CAIR-WA received more than 35 reports of anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2015 in Washington state.”
Bukhari also noted that there have been a number of similar incidents nationwide including at least 25 bias-motivated attacks reported to CAIR-WA in 2016, including the following:
1. On February 2, 2016: a man armed with two guns and a baseball bat, pointed a gun at people outside the Northgate mosque in Seattle and threatened to shoot them, after making comments about their ethnicity.
2. In late March 2016: a 19-year-old American Muslim girl in Everett (next to Lynnwood) was wearing a head scarf and walking on the sidewalk when she was attacked and beaten by a grown man who yelled the same anti-Muslim slurs and conspiracy theories that we hear often, while he viciously beat her. She came home to her family with a bloody right cheek, bruised ribs, concussions, and damage to her head.
3. June 2016: a young female Seattle Muslim college student was threatened by a man who approached her while making derogatory comments about Islam and anti-Muslim slurs. She was able to get away.
4. June 2016: A mosque in Redmond, WA is threatened by a man who repeated anti-Muslim slurs and said he will come and kill children (yes, he actually mentioned children in his threatening message!) and families who attend the mosque.
5. June 2016: A mosque in Pierce County received a voicemail from a man who threatened to come shoot attendees.
6. June 2016: A mosque in South King County received a voicemail from a mosque who said he would come kill people at the mosque.
7. June 2016: A mosque in the Northgate neighborhood of Seattle received online threats by a man who said he had started buying ammunition and weapons to attack the mosque.
Perpetrator was arrested at his home after a stand-off with police.
8. Early July 2016: Lynnwood Muslim woman’s car parked outside her home had “I**S” keyed on the hood and anti-Muslim messages. She feared for her life knowing that whoever did this knew she is an American Muslim, where she lives and what car she drives.
9. July 2016: A man uttered racist remarks, then returns with knife breaks into a Indian American family’s home, calls family ‘t***rist’, raise knofe and threatens to ‘cut’ them. Grandmother runs out of the home with 3 year old grandson to flee the attacker. The suspect later tells family, “I was trained to kill people like them.” http://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/man-arrested-after-allegedly-breaking-home-knife-calling-sikh-man-n608496
10. Late July 2016: Two pieces of ham were left in Quran at entrance of an East King County mosque with "Remember Orlando" written on the pieces of ham.
11. Late July, 2016: A man entered an East King County mosque, yelled about the KKK, beat two people and then ran away. He was arrested by police several blocks away. http://www.bellevuereporter.com/news/party-fouls-bellevue-police-blotter-july-25-31/
12. Mid-August, 2016: Rocks thrown through windows of a mosque in East King County
13. Mid-August, 2016: All of the windows of a van wrapped in Islamic educational messaging (WhyIslam.org’s van) shattered while it was parked in Bellevue.
Bukhari also noted possible causes of hate attacks based on known research and data kept by CAIR of attacks following coverage of a violent event where the suspect was not Muslim:
Too often, we have seen waves of religiously loaded news coverage of crimes and commentary when the suspect is Muslim, very often even before actual identities of suspects are known when news and commentary speculates about Islam/Muslims consistently, result in surges of anti-Muslim hate violence and bullying of Muslim children.
A study conducted by Media Tenor of primetime news 2007-2013 found that Islam is featured in primetime news more than any other religion, and the coverage is overwhelmingly negative.
Research shows that it’s the news coverage and commentary, not the event itself, that determines how the public will react and whether members of a minority group will face hate violence. Research by University of Hawaii, University of Exeter & National Hispanic Media Coalition indicate that media content can have a direct effect on hate and prejudice against minority groups. Accurate language can inform readers, while loaded language misleads readers and fuels hate and prejudice.
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.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.