(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/1/2009) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the FBI to investigate possible civil rights violations by a “biblical group” that allegedly harassed worshipers yesterday at a Florida mosque.
More than 20 people used bullhorns to shout slurs against the faith of Islam and Islam’s Prophet Muhammad at those attending the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area. They also handed out anti-Muslim literature and, according to a mosque official, frightened children attending weekend school at the facility. The group was apparently in Tampa for today’s Super Bowl. Police were called to the scene.
SEE: Group Protests Islam Outside Tampa Mosque (Tampa Trib)
“Americans of all faiths should be able to attend their houses of worship without fear of harassment or intimidation,” said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ramzy Kiliç. “We call on the FBI to determine if this incident crossed the line from freedom of speech to religious harassment.”
In January, CAIR reported that mosques in Florida and Pennsylvania were targeted by vandals.
CAIR’s South Florida chapter reported that shots were fired at a Miami mosque and Islamic school.
SEE: Religious Leaders Hold Vigil, Forum at Vandalized Mosque
In Pennsylvania, red paint was splashed across the steps leading to the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh.
SEE: Vandals Hit Islamic Center in Oakland (Post-Gazette)
More mosques are being built around America as the Muslim population increases nationwide.
SEE: Arlington’s Islamic Center is Building a Mosque
The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group is urging Muslims nationwide to review security procedures using advice contained in its “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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CONTACT: CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ramzy Kiliç, 813-486-2529; E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com