(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 5/3/2016) â€“ The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today welcomed state and federal hate crime investigations of the stabbing of a Savanna, Okla., gas station clerk who was reportedly called a â€œterroristâ€ by the alleged attacker.
Larry Johnson allegedly went into the gas station and accused the clerk of being a â€œterrorist,â€ then stabbed him twice, puncturing his lungs. Johnson was apprehended as he tried to drive away and was booked on a complaint of attempted first-degree murder.
The clerk, reportedly of Bangladeshi heritage, was taken to a Tulsa hospital and is expected to recover. Because Johnson made statements consistent with a hate crime, state law enforcement authorities and the FBI are investigating a bias motive.
â€œWe welcome the investigation of this terrible attack as a hate crime and call for the attacker to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,â€ said CAIR-OK Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure.
The apparently hate-motivated crime comes after months of anti-Muslim rhetoric, including presidential candidate Donald Trump alluding to the murder of Muslims using bullets â€œdipped in pigâ€™s bloodâ€ and presidential candidate Ted Cruz suggesting that Muslim neighborhoods be patrolled by law enforcement.
â€œThe tragic news of this hate-drive attack on a gas station clerk reaches us at a time when Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate rhetoric has reached an all-time high in our country,â€ said CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani. â€œIt should serve as a reminder to us all the when hate rhetoric and bigotry go unchecked in society it can have very real consequences on the lives of our fellow citizens.â€
Hate crimes against Muslim have arisen across the country. A Vermont man was charged with a hate crime after pointing a gun at a Muslim woman wearing hijab and calling her a terrorist. In Washington, D.C., a Muslim woman was assaulted and called â€œMuslim trashâ€ before her assailant poured a drink on her.
Video: Donald Trump Supporter Attacks Muslim Woman in DC (CAIR)
Crimes against individuals who are perceived as Middle Eastern or Muslim have also spiked; a Sikh bus driver in Los Angeles, CA, was attacked by a passenger calling him a â€œterroristâ€ and a â€œsuicide bomber,â€ and in Fresno, CA, a Sikh temple was vandalized with messages referring to ISIS. In Norman, Okla., last year, a man called 911 stating his intention to â€œstart shooting anything that looks like a Muslim,â€ prompting evacuation of the nearby Islamic Center of Norman.
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 Oklahoma Executive Director Adam Soltani, 405-218-5853, aSoltani@cair.com; CAIR Oklahoma Operations and Events Coordinator Anna Facci, 918-269-7924, aFacci@cair.com; CAIR Oklahoma Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure, 405-430-9877, vLaizure@cair.com