(LOS ANGELES, CA, 2/29/08) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today condemned a series of anti-Semitic attacks in San Fernando Valley and welcomed swift action by law enforcement to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Earlier this month, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus. Shortly thereafter, a home of a Jewish family was firebombed. No injuries were reported. Both incidents are being investigated as hate crimes, and the reward offer for helping find the perpetrators has been increased.
SEE: Reward Grows in Apparent Hate Crime (Daily News)
“Those who target houses of worship, community centers, homes or schools based on religious or ethnic prejudice must be apprehended and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. “We will not tolerate racism and intimidation in our communities.”
Ayloush said Los Angeles is an inclusive place for people from all religions and ethnicities, and stressed that members of the interfaith communities and civil rights groups must step forward to collectively challenge and repudiate bigotry, regardless of the victim or the perpetrator.
Ayloush noted a number of recent incidents across the nation that targeted Muslim and Jewish people and houses of worship, indicating a troubling rise in religiously motivated hate crimes.
In Pennsylvania, a Jewish Penn State student was victim of an assault. A few weeks ago, a Tennessee mosque was burned and hate graffiti – including Nazi swastikas – was scrawled on its walls. In January, swastikas and other hateful graffiti were painted along walls in the City of Tarzana. A New York man of Pakistani descent was violently attacked by a mob of teenagers in December, prompting police to refer to the incident as a vicious hate crime.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: Munira Syeda at CAIR-LA, 714-776-1847 or 714-851-4851, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org