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CAIR Calls for Hate Crime Probe of Ferguson Church Arson

ferguson-church-arson(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/26/2014) – The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called for a federal hate crime investigation of an apparent arson attack on a Ferguson, Mo., church.

Rev. Carlton Lee alleged in an interview that the church, which was gutted by fire on Monday, was targeted by white supremacists because he had publicly called for Police Officer Darren Wilson to be arrested.

Flood Christian Church was one of many buildings and businesses damaged by arsonists after a grand jury chose not to indict Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager who was shot to death in August.

Rev. Lee said the distance between the church and the bulk of the violence indicated that the burning of his church was a hate crime. (The church is located some three miles away from the ongoing protests.)

SEE: Ferguson Church Where Michael Brown's Father was Baptized on Sunday is Torched 24 Hours Later (NY Daily News)

“Just as we call for a hate crime investigation whenever an American mosque is harmed in suspicious circumstances, we urge state and federal authorities to examine the possibility of a bias motive for the alleged attack on this house of worship,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

Yesterday, CAIR called for a “national action” to address issues of racism in the aftermath of a Missouri grand jury's decision to not indict Officer Wilson. CAIR also questioned the “problematic” grand jury process that resulted in a failure to indict the officer.

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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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

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