(ANAHEIM, CALIF., 7/13/2017) — The Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA), Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA), and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) today called on Los Angeles city officials to address a spate of apparent hate crimes targeting minorities in the area. In a recent incident, a man allegedly yelled anti-Muslim epithets while defacing a Buddha statue in L.A.’s Palms neighborhood.
“The divisive rhetoric from our national politicians, particularly against American Muslims, has normalized bigotry in our country,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. “As proud Angelenos, we must resist this trend and guard the diversity that has always defined our city and its people.”
Ayloush noted that CAIR-LA received a threatening email last week with the heading “Muslim sewer rats” and warning the civil rights organization’s staff to “et ready to have a war.”
In the Palms incident, the attacker initially “decapitated” the Buddha statue, which is located at a well-known intersection in the area. When neighborhood residents repaired the installation, reinforcing it with a metal bar, the vandal returned with a sledgehammer, destroying the statue’s face. All told, the statue has been attacked four times, apparently by the same perpetrator.
Laboni Hoq, Litigation Director at Advancing Justice-LA, cited joint efforts with the American Muslim community to combat rising levels of hate speech. The organization has partnered with CAIR-LA on several campaigns, including against the Muslim ban. “Asian Americans know the sting of hateful speech,” Hoq said. “And we know how quickly words can devolve into discrimination and abuse.”
Hoq said Advancing Justice-LA had joined CAIR-LA in calling on the Los Angeles Police Department to investigate the Palms attack as a hate crime.
Rabbi Jonathan Klein, Executive Director of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), added:
“As a multi-faith organization, we are aghast at the uptick of hateful rhetoric and ugly attacks against so many communities, including this recent violent act. We join Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and all other faith leaders in demanding an end to scapegoating and vilifying and working toward a world in which all are celebrated for their uniqueness.”
CAIR recently launched an app to share critical “know your rights” information and to simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents. CAIR is urging American Muslims and members of other minority groups to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.
For a quick download of CAIR’s civil rights app, click here: http://www.cair.com/app
In addition, earlier this year, Advancing Justice-LA launched www.standagainsthatred.org, an online hate tracker which focuses specifically on capturing anti-Asian incidents.
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.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, fomentar el diÃ¡logo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice-LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.
Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) works to educate, organize, and mobilize the faith community to accompany workers and their families in their struggle for good jobs, dignity, and justice.
La misiÃ³n de CLUE es “educar, organizar y mobilizar a la comunidad de la fe para acompaÃ±ar a los trabajadores y sus familias en la lucha por conseguir buenos empleos, dignidad y justicia.”
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CAIR-LA Communications Coordinator
Advancing Justice-LA Communications Director