In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CAIR CALLS FOR FBI PROBE OF SHOOTING NEAR PA MOSQUE
Man charged with ‘ethnic intimidation’ for firing shots at cars
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/9/2005) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on the FBI to consider bringing federal charges against a man who allegedly fired dozens of shots yesterday into cars parked at a Lansdale, Pa., mosque.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said Robert Blackburn, 53, was charged with ethnic intimidation after he used a rifle to shoot at cars in the parking lot of the North Penn Mosque. No one was injured in the incident, but police said damage to the cars was likely in excess of $5,000. Blackburn, who was also charged with criminal mischief, firearms violations, misdemeanor charges of recklessly endangering another person, and disorderly conduct, is being held on $50,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 18.
SEE: “Hatfield Man Charged with Ethnic Intimidation”
CAIR recently reported another anti-Muslim incident in Pennsylvania during which a Muslim family was assaulted while driving near Blue Bell, Pa., by a man shouting ethnic and religious slurs such as “dirty Arabs” and “raghead.” Only traffic charges were filed against the alleged assailant, despite requests to probe the apparent bias motive for the attack.
The Washington-based council said the growing level of Islamophobic rhetoric in American society prompts some individuals to turn their hate-filled views into violent actions.
Just yesterday, CAIR urged a Los Angeles synagogue that hosted a speech by Robert Spencer, the operator of a virulently anti-Muslim website, to offer its congregation a more balanced perspective on Islam. Comments and articles on Spencer’s site, which is used as reference by a number of Islamophobic commentators, compare Muslims to animals and Nazis and portray Islam as an inherently violent faith that must be confronted.
New comments on that site today include “death to islam (sic),” “islam must be destroyed..destroy islam (sic),” “ISLAM = DEADLY PARASITE,” and “Islam IS the NAZISM of our generation.”
SEE: “CA Synagogue That Hosted Islamophobe Urged to Invite Muslim Speaker”
“Our nation’s religious and political leaders need to speak out strongly against the Islamophobic rhetoric that can lead to violent incidents,” said CAIR National Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar. Iftikhar urged that federal charges be considered in the mosque shooting case.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 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.
To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About
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