Muslim civil rights groups seeks state, federal hate crime probe
(COLUMBUS, OHIO, 1/11/15) — The Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) today called on local and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate a reported threat to one of that state's mosques as a possible hate crime.
Muslim community leaders told CAIR-Ohio that someone allegedly called and threatened to destroy a central Ohio mosque. A hate call was also reportedly made to a mosque in Cincinnati.
“Given the heightened tensions following the recent terror attack in France, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to make all efforts to investigate this threat to a house of worship and to bring the perpetrator to justice,” said CAIR-Ohio Staff Attorney Romin Iqbal.
He noted that CAIR's national office has reported a recent spike in the number of hate messages it receives. Many of the messages make reference to the attack in France.
Mosques in France and other European have recently been targeted by hate incidents.
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CAIR and a number of other American Muslim organizations joined Muslims worldwide in condemning the Paris attack and defending freedom of speech.
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Video: CAIR-FL Rep Says Charlie Hebdo Attackers Don't Represent Islam or Muslims
Video: CAIR-Chicago Rep Says Paris Attack a Crime Against Humanity and Islam
Photo: CAIR Director Nihad Awad Signs Book of Condolences for Paris Terror Victims at French Embassy in D.C.
Iqbal said the alleged hate calls to Ohio mosques come following a string of apparent bias incidents targeting American Muslims, including vandalism of Minnesota Islamic centers, the beating of a Muslim taxi driver and desecration of Muslim graves in Washington state, vandalism at a San Francisco-area mosque, shots fired at another California mosque, a firebomb attack on a mosque in New Mexico, a threatening letter with an unknown substance sent to a San Diego mosque, threats to CAIR's Houston office, and the murder of a Muslim teen outside a Kansas City mosque by a man driving a vehicle covered in anti-Islam slurs.
Last year, a man entered the CAIR office in Columbus and reportedly told an intern: “I'm going to take you all down. This whole place, this whole organization, I'm going to take you all down.” He also allegedly stated: “I know what's going on here.”
CAIR is urging 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 through our website.
The Washington-based civil rights organization is asking American Muslims to contact a local CAIR chapter to report any bias 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.
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CONTACT: CAIR-Ohio Staff Attorney Romin Iqbal, 614-451-3232, 614-783-7953, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org