(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/10/16) 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 Kentucky mosque as a possible hate crime.
On Friday, when worshipers left congregational prayers as the Islamic Center of Owensboro in Owensboro, Ky., they found the mosqueâ€™s sign smeared with red markings. Mosque officials believe the vandalism was motivated by bias.
â€œAll acts of vandalism targeting American houses of worship should be investigated with a possible bias motive in mind, particularly given the recent spike in anti-mosque incidents nationwide,â€ said National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
Hooper noted that last week, CAIRâ€™s Sacramento chapter welcomed a $2500 FBI reward for information leading to the arrest of suspect or suspects who participated in an attempted arson and possible hate crime of the Tracy Islamic Center in Tracy, Calif.Â
CAIRâ€™s Florida chapter also welcomed an arrest in the case of vandalism targeting a Titusville, Fla., mosque, but questioned why the suspect in the case was offered bail of only $2,000.
Last month, CAIR released a preliminary report on more than 70 incidents targeting American mosques and religious institutions in 2015 that shows a greater frequency of damage, destruction, vandalism, and intimidation than in any other year since CAIR started tracking such cases in 2009.
CAIR offers a free publication, “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety,” to leaders of houses of worship of all faiths. That booklet, which was published in response to previous attacks on American Muslim institutions, contains safety information applicable to any institution and may be requested through CAIR's website: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html Â
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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