Washington-based Muslim civil rights group says shooting shows need for Indiana hate crime law
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/19/19) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on federal law enforcement authorities to bring charges against the man who allegedly shot to death an Indiana Muslim, reportedly while shouting Islamophobic slurs.
CAIR is also calling on Indiana lawmakers to pass a hate crime law that would address such incidents.
According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Mustafa Ayoubi, 32, was shot Saturday evening following an incident that began on I-465. Three friends who reportedly witnessed the shooting say it was a hate crime.
The witnesses said they heard the suspect, 33-year-old Dustin Passarelli of Plainfield, Ind., shouting anti-Muslim slurs in the moments before shooting Ayoubi. One witness said the alleged shooter “was saying a lot of bad words about [Islam’s Prophet] Muhammad.”
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Investigators say the shooting was reported as a hate crime but is not being investigated as one.
SEE: Questions Surround Deadly Road Rage Shooting in Indianapolis
“Because there is no hate crime law in Indiana, it is imperative that federal charges be considered in this tragic case,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri. “This tragedy shows why Indiana lawmakers must address the lack of hate crime legislation in the state.”
She noted that Indiana is one of just five states without a hate crime law.
SEE: Indiana Lawmakers Kill Hate Crimes Bill Again
Masri added that state and national leaders must speak out against the growing Islamophobia nationwide that can result in such violent incidents.
“We have seen an unfortunate spike in violent attacks and plots targeting American Muslims and their institutions in the era of Donald Trump,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
He cited recent arrests in an alleged bomb plot targeting Muslims in New York, guilty pleas in the bombing of a Minnesota mosque and sentencing of men in a plot to bomb Muslims in Kansas.
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The Washington-based civil rights organization has witnessed an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president. CAIR has repeatedly expressed concern about Islamophobic, white supremacist and racist Trump administration policies and appointments.
SEE: CAIR Says Trump’s Islamophobic ”˜Prayer Rug’ Tweet Designed to Distract from Latest Legal Problems
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 202-742-6420, firstname.lastname@example.org, CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, email@example.com