(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 12/4/14) — The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called on federal law enforcement authorities to investigate vandalism targeting two St. Cloud, Minn., mosques as possible hate crimes.
Muslim leaders in St. Cloud report that vandalism was discovered Wednesday at the Central Minnesota Islamic Center. It was the third time windows were damaged in recent weeks. The windows of vehicles are also reportedly being smashed as worshipers attend morning prayers.
Worshippers at another local mosque, the Islamic Center of St. Cloud, also reported damage to vehicles.
“Law enforcement officials must send a strong message that hate against any place of worship is unacceptable and that possibly bias-motivated crimes will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya.
Last month, CAIR-MN sought a similar investigation of anti-Islam vandalism apparently targeting Muslims in a St. Paul neighborhood.
Neighbors contacted CAIR-MN to report that someone wrote “F*** Islam” using motor oil near the driveway of a home. They said several Muslim families live in the St. Paul neighborhood.
At that time, Saroya urged community leaders to implement safety measures outlined in CAIR's booklet, “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety,” which was published in response to previous attacks on American mosques.
The booklet is designed to be used by mosque officials, Muslim school administrators and other community leaders and activists who seek to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities to bias-motivated attacks.
A free copy of CAIR's “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety,” may be requested by going to: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html
Also in November, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) called on law enforcement authorities to investigate vandalism targeting a Muslim cemetery as a possible hate crime.
Headstones bearing a star and crescent and Arabic inscriptions were vandalized last month at the Islamic Community of Bosniaks in Washington State's cemetery near Maltby, Wash. Community members say the Christian section of the cemetery was not vandalized.
CAIR's San Francisco Bay Area chapter called for a hate crime probe of vandalism targeting a local mosque. The perpetrator spray-painted a Star of David and the number 26 on a door of the Islamic Center of Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, Calif.
CAIR recently reported a number of apparent hate attacks on Islamic institutions in the United States, including shots fired at a California mosque and a firebomb attack on a mosque in New Mexico.
The Muslim civil rights group's San Diego chapter also asked the FBI to investigate a threatening letter with an unknown substance sent to a local mosque.
CAIR's Houston office asked the FBI to investigate a threat it received that contained direct references to the group's address and to Muslims being “exterminated from this land.” Representatives of CAIR-Houston also urged local mosques to step up security measures.
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.
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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, email@example.com