(ST. PAUL, MN, 4/14/08) – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today asked local law enforcement authorities and the FBI to investigate reported threats against a charter school in that state as possible hate crimes.
Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA) in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., allegedly began receiving harassing and threatening messages after recent public criticism of the school by a columnist of the Star Tribune newspaper. The columnist’s accusations against the school have since been highlighted on a number of anti-Muslim Internet hate sites. After being contacted by school officials, local police have stepped up patrols near the facility.
SEE: Charter School Getting Threats for Islamic Ties (Star Tribune)
“We urge the FBI and local law enforcement authorities to treat these alleged threats as possible violations of the civil rights of the students, parents and staff of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy,” said CAIR-MN Chapter Coordinator Chris Schumacher. “It is a sad reflection of the level anti-Muslim feeling has reached in our society that agenda-driven accusations by a newspaper columnist apparently result in such hatred directed at innocent students.”
He said the apparent threats to the school come following recent incidents such as a fire-bomb attack on a Minnesota Muslim-owned business and an arson attack on a Tennessee mosque by three members of the white-supremacist “Christian Identity” movement.
SEE: MN: Investigators Say Fire Could Be Hate Crime
SEE ALSO: CAIR Applauds Arrests in TN Mosque Arson
Schumacher also urged Muslim individuals and institutions in Minnesota and nationwide to review security procedures using advice contained in CAIR’s “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.
CONTACT: CAIR-MN Chapter Coordinator Chris Schumacher, 651-808-4110, 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 Strategic Communications Director Ahmed Rehab, 202-870-0166, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org