(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/6/12) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called for stepped-up police protection at Muslim institutions and other houses of worship nationwide after a fire destroyed a Missouri mosque that had previously been targeted by an arsonist and after yesterday's deadly shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
CAIR is also offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever may have caused today's fire. The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization is in touch with the FBI about the case.
Fire officials are investigating the second fire at the Islamic Society of Joplin this summer. The blaze, which engulfed the entire structure, was reported early Monday. Mosque officials tell CAIR the facility, valued at an estimated $600,000, had been targeted by bias-motivated incidents a number of times in the past.
A small fire at the same building in July was determined to be arson. At that time, CAIR called for state and federal hate crime investigations of the fire.
Yesterday, CAIR issued a statement expressing the Muslim community's solidarity with Sikhs following a deadly shooting at a house of worship of that faith in Wisconsin.
The alleged perpetrator of that act of domestic terrorism reportedly had a “9/11 tattoo on one arm.” CAIR noted that Sikh men who wear beards and turbans as part of their faith are often targeted by bigots who mistake them for Muslims.
SEE: Gunman's Tattoos Lead Officials to Deem Sikh Shooting Terrorism
Gunman Had 9/11 Tattoo on One Arm (CNN)
Alleged Sikh Temple Shooter Former Member of Skinhead Band
“These disturbing incidents point to the urgent need for increased police protection for Muslim and Sikh houses of worship nationwide,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “If left unchallenged, religious intolerance can and does harm innocent people.”
Because of these two most recent incidents targeting American houses of worship, and because of previous attacks on American mosques, CAIR is urging religious leaders nationwide to review advice on security procedures contained in its “Muslim Community Safety Kit.”
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-St. Louis Executive Director Faizan Syed, 636-207-8882, 314-330-2946, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, firstname.lastname@example.org