(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/10/2008) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the FBI to investigate a recent incident of vandalism targeting a local mosque as a possible hate crime.
Officials of the Islamic Foundation Mosque in Villa Park told CAIR that the facility was vandalized Thursday, which was the fourth such incident in less than two months. A mosque employee reportedly discovered two windows that were shattered and a five-gallon tank of flammable liquid that had been spilled in an area of the mosque’s school that is under construction.
Villa Park police are investigating the crime, which appears to be a part of a series of suspected bias-motivated incidents targeting the mosque. Two weeks ago, mosque authorities found a Star of David in a section of the school that is undergoing expansion. The month before, anti-Islamic messages were spray-painted on the outer walls of the mosque. Two months ago, other windows were shattered. In the past, glass doors at the mosque’s entrance were shattered.
“We call on law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, to determine whether this and other incidents were motivated by anti-Muslim hate,” said CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham. “We must all stand against intolerance and do what is necessary to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Abraham said similar incidents have targeted Muslim individuals and institutions nationwide. She said CAIR is also concerned that the level of anti-Muslim bias has been increased by the distribution of the anti-Muslim film “Obsession” to 28 million households in presidential election swing states nationwide.
SEE: New Website Challenges Anti-Muslim Election ‘Gimmick’
Today, the Los Angeles Times reported that police are investigating a death threat against a Muslim candidate for the Irvine City Council.
SEE: Muslim Candidate for Irvine City Council Gets Death Threat (Los Angeles Times)
In June, CAIR called on law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive in the shooting of an Ohio Muslim. In April, CAIR sought hate crime charges against the alleged perpetrator of a March “Molotov cocktail” attack on a Kansas Muslim. That same month, CAIR’s Minnesota chapter asked the FBI to investigate reported threats against the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy charter school in that state as possible hate crimes.
The Kansas assault and the threats to the Minnesota school came following other 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.
The Muslim civil rights and advocacy group is urging Muslims nationwide to review security procedures using advice in CAIR’s “Muslim Community Safety Kit.”
In September, CAIR released its annual report on the status of American Muslim civil rights. That report, called “Without Fear of Discrimination,” outlined 2,652 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2007.
To view the entire report, click here.
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-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, E-Mail: email@example.com, 312-212-1520 or 202-870-0016; CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Amina Sharif, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 312-212-1520 or 630-935-5562; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org