(ANAHEIM, CA, 12/2/15) â€“ The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called on the FBI to investigate as a hate crime an incident in which an apparently bullet-riddled copy of the Quran, Islamâ€™s holy text, was found outside of an Islamic clothing store.
The owner of Al-Farah Islamic Clothing in Anaheim, Calif., found the English translation of the Quran pierced with multiple holes and hanging on the front door of the store Tuesday morning.
SEE: Photo of Bullet-Riddled QuranÂ Â Â
The owner of the store immediately contacted CAIR-LA and the Anaheim Police Department, which is now investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. Surveillance video of the area has yet to be reviewed.
Several months ago, an unidentified individual shattered a store window. Police are investigating whether the two incidents are related.
â€œAnyone has the right to be a bigot, but when that bigotry is expressed through the targeting of individuals or businesses through acts of intimidation similar to a cross burning it crosses the line into criminal behavior,â€ said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. â€œIf you shoot up a Quran on your own property,that is bigoted freedom of expression. If you deliver that bullet-riddled Quran to a Muslim home or business, that is an act of intimidation and a hate crime.â€
Ayloush noted that in 2003, the United States Supreme Court ruled that acts of intimidation like KKK-style cross burnings may be prohibited if the perpetrator is carrying out the burning to intimidate or terrorize.
He said the Anaheim incident appeared to be part of an unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris.
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The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is also asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.htmlÂ Â Â Â
CAIR is Americaâ€™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-LA Communications Coordinator Ojaala Ahmad, 714-776-1847, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Nabeelah Naeem, 202-341-4171, firstname.lastname@example.org