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CAIR-Sacramento Calls for FBI Hate Crime Probe of Fire at Chico Hookah Lounge

CAIR Sacramento Calls for Hate Crime Probe of Fire at Hookah Lounge(SACRAMENTO, CA, 7/5/15) – The Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV) today called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate a fire outside a Chico, Calif., business as a possible hate crime.

Witnesses say the fire was ignited Thursday outside the Fusion Hookah Lounge after two men in a pickup truck drove by “yelling derogatory comments, and making gestures.” The lounge owners believe they were targeted because of their Middle Eastern heritage. They say they and their Muslim and Middle Eastern customers have previously had been targeted by threatening comments.

SEE: Witnesses Say Fire Started By Men Making 'Ethnic' Comments
Video: Firecracker Blamed for Blaze at Fusion Hookah Lounge

The business owners said they found what appeared to be the remains of a “Molotov cocktail” incendiary device at the site of the fire.

PHOTO: Apparent Incendiary Device

“Because of the reports of derogatory comments heard just prior to the fire, it is imperative that law enforcement authorities – including the FBI – investigate the possibility of a bias motive,” said CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra. “This incident comes following a series of bias incidents targeting American Muslims and their institutions nationwide.”

On Friday, CAIR's New Jersey chapter similarly urged law enforcement authorities to investigate a phone threat targeting a Paterson, N.J., mosque as a hate crime.

CAIR Seeks Hate Crime Probe After NJ Mosque Targeted by Phone Threat

Other incidents include a Texas road rage shooting in which the gunman reportedly shouted “go back to Islam.”

SEE: CAIR-Texas Seeks Probe of Bias Motive After Houston Road Rage Shooter Shouts 'Go Back to Islam'

Yesterday, CAIR questioned the release of a Tennessee man who admitted to planning a Charleston-style terror attack on a Muslim community in New York.

SEE: CAIR Questions Release of Tenn. Man Who Planned 'Charleston-Style' Attack on NY Muslims

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-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra, 916.289.3748, belkarra@cair.com, CAIR-SV Communications Coordinator Sabina Khan,skhan@cair.com

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