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CAIR-Florida Concerned That Cross-Burning Not Being Probed as Hate Crime

screenshot 2018.03.28 14 32 16(MIAMI, FL, 3/28/18) – The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR – FL), the state’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, today expressed concern that a recent cross-burning in front of a home in Harbor Point, Fla., is not being investigated as a hate crime.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident in which a wooden cross was set on fire in front of the residence of Dr. Mohamed Omar Saleh, a local psychiatrist. The Florida Times-Union reported that, “Officer Melissa Bujeda, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, confirmed a cross was burned at the scene and said an intelligence unit and evidence technician were assigned to the case. But it cannot be classified as a hate crime yet.”

Traditionally, cross-burnings have been directly associated with xenophobic and racist sentiments.

CAIR-FL is assigning resources to ensure that hate crimes against the community are investigated and indicted as such.

“CAIR-Florida’s Civil Rights Department and our regional coordinators are actively contacting the parties affected and urging the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to treat and investigate this incident as a possible hate crime,” said CAIR-FL Communications Director Wilfredo Amr Ruiz.

SEE: Cross burned in front of Jacksonville doctor’s home

CAIR-Florida is the state’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

CONTACT: CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo A. Ruiz,, 305.502.6749


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