(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/11/08) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today applauded the arrest of three suspects in the weekend arson attack on a Tennessee mosque.
On Saturday, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called for state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate the fire and hate graffiti at the Islamic Center of Columbia as a possible hate crime. Several Nazi swastikas and the phrases “white power” and “we run the world” were sprayed on the outside walls of the mosque.
That same day, authorities arrested the suspects – Jonathan Stone, 19, Michael Golden, 23, and Eric Baker, 32 – who could all face federal hate crime charges.
SEE: Mosque Fire Could Bring Hate Crime Charges for 3 (Tennessean)
SEE ALSO: Police Make Arrests in Arson, Hate Crime (News Channel 5)
“We thank local, state and national law enforcement authorities for their swift and professional actions in helping to solve this disturbing case,” said CAIR Civil Rights Manager Khadija Athman. “We ask that the defendants receive a fair trail and, if convicted, a sentence that reflects the severity of their alleged crime.”
Because of similar bias-related incidents nationwide, CAIR is urging Muslim individuals and institutions to review security procedures using advice contained in its “Muslim Community Safety Kit.”
SEE: CAIR Muslim Community Safety Kit
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 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.
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