(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/24/15) â€“ The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate vandalism targeting a Nebraska mosque as a possible hate crime.
CAIR also called for stepped-up police protection in the area of the mosque.
Someone was caught on surveillance video smashing a window at the Islamic Center of Omaha last night. Police say a group of people began throwing stones at the mosque after 3 a.m. Sunday. When the rocks failed to cause damage, one vandal threw a 40-pound boulder through a side-door window.
â€œBecause of the increasingly violent tone of anti-Muslim rhetoric nationwide and given recent incidents targeting American mosques, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to treat this attack as a possible hate crime,â€ said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
Hooper asked anyone recognizing the alleged mosque attacker to contact local police and the FBI.
Earlier this month, CAIR released a new brief, called â€œToxic Hate,â€ indicating that the backlash against this nationâ€™s Muslim community since Daesh (also known as ISIS) murdered two Americans in Syria last August has a â€œmore violent toneâ€ than past spikes in Islamophobic sentiment.
The CAIR brief outlined incidents of violence and threats targeting individual Muslims, threats against groups of Muslims and threats and violence targeting Islamic houses of worship and institutions. It also includes a section on the recent phenomenon of armed anti-Islam demonstrations.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization recently called for similar federal hate crime investigations and stepped-up police protection for a Virginia mosque targeted by vandalism and harassment with hate rhetoric and for an online arson threat to a Tennessee mosque.
Those incidents fit a pattern of increased hate-motivated crimes and bias incidents nationwide targeting persons and property associated, or perceived to be associated, with Islam and the American Muslim community.
Following revelations of a recent FBI bulletin warning that â€œmilitia extremistsâ€ may begin targeting Muslim institutions, including mosques and community centers, CAIR asked Muslim community leaders nationwide to consider instituting additional safety measures for prayers and other activities.
CAIR is urging community leaders to obtain and implement safety measures outlined in its booklet, “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety.” The booklet may be requested through CAIR's website: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.htmlÂ Â
CAIR also asks Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.htmlÂ
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.
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