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CAIR-NY Says Hate Vandalism Is Not Free Speech


(NEW YORK, NY, 7/30/07) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today applauded the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Hate Crimes Task Force for working to charge a Brooklyn resident who allegedly desecrated Qurans, Islam’s revealed text, at Manhattan’s Pace University.

SEE: Hate Crimes Task Force

SEE: Hate Crime Arrests In Quran Desecration at Pace University–vandalismquran0727jul27,0,6882662.story

SEE ALSO: Student Nabbed in Koran Dunk

“We commend the NYPD for its appropriate handling of this case,” said CAIR-NY Civil Rights Coordinator Aliya Latif. “We must all be concerned when any actions cross the line from protected free speech to acts designed to intimidate. Just as there is a difference between someone burning a cross in their own backyard and burning that same cross in the yard of an African-American family, there is a difference between desecrating a religious text in a private setting and doing so in a setting that will create a hostile learning environment.”

She said that one of the desecrated Qurans was reportedly taken from Pace’s interfaith meditation room.

Since October, five hate incidents targeting the Muslim community have been documented on the Pace campus, including the words “F— Islam” written in a hallway. Muslim students have even reported to CAIR-NY that they transferred out of the university because of the hostile atmosphere created by these incidents.

Latif said CAIR-NY will continue to work with Pace’s MSA and the Association of Muslim American Lawyers (AMAL) to promote tolerance on the Pace campus.

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.

CONTACT: CAIR-NY Civil Rights Coordinator Aliya Latif, Tel: 212-870-2002 or 732-429-4268, E-Mail:


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