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CAIR-FL Says Keep Hate Charges for Assault on Muslims


(TAMPA, FL, 7/3/07) – On Thursday, July 5, the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) will hold a news conference in Panama City to ask that hate crime charges be maintained in the case of a man who allegedly assaulted a Muslim family in that state.

WHAT: CAIR-Tampa News Conference About Assault on Muslim Family
WHERE: Bay County Courthouse, 300 E. 4th Street, Panama City, FL (main entrance off McKenzie Avenue)
WHEN: Thursday, July 5, 12:30 p.m. (local time)
CONTACT: CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier, 813-731-9506,
E-Mail:; CAIR-Tampa Civil Rights Coordinator Ramzy Kilic, 813-766-2745

According to the Muslim mother, she and her children were eating at a Taco Bell in Lynn Haven, Fla., in May when a man began to scream religious slurs such as “you Muslim bast**ds.”

The assailant then reportedly spit food on a five-year-old child and shoved his 11-year-old brother. When the mother asked why the man was acting in such an abusive manner, he allegedly replied: “My problem is that you are f**king Muslims.”

At that point, the manager of the restaurant intervened and witnesses to the assault called the police. The alleged assailant, who is a Bay County school bus driver, was eventually arrested and is due at a court hearing on Thursday in Panama City. (State of Florida vs. Thomas Plaisted, case no. 07002001CFMA)

SEE: Bay County School Bus Driver is Facing Hate Crimes Charges

“We urge that this alleged assault be prosecuted to the full extent of the law by maintaining the hate crime enhancement as allowed under state statues,” said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier. Bedier will ask prosecutors not to consider a plea agreement that might reduce the charges.

Florida Statute 775.085 allows enhanced penalties for crimes evidencing “prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, mental or physical disability, or advanced age of the victim.”


CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices, chapters and affiliates 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.


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