Press Releases

CAIR Seeks Hate Crime Charges After Muslim Called ‘Terrorist’ at Calif. Costco

CAIR-logoMan allegedly tried to hit woman with his car when she tried to take photo of license plate

(SACRAMENTO, CA, 3/24/14) — The Sacramento Valley chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights organization, today called on local law enforcement authorities to consider hate crime charges against a man who allegedly called a Muslim woman a “terrorist” and tried to hit her with his car.

According to the woman, who wears an Islamic headscarf (hijab), the incident took place on Saturday afternoon as she was loading her car with purchases from a Costco in Stockton, Calif. She reported to CAIR-SV that another car pulled into the parking space next to hers, and as a white male got out of his car, he shouted “terrorist” at her in a threatening tone. When she questioned whether he had just called her a terrorist, he allegedly replied, “Yes really, you terrorist! Go to hell!”

The woman went back into Costco to file a complaint. While she was waiting for security to arrive, the man came out of the store. As the woman tried to take a picture of his license plate for the police report, he backed quickly out of the parking space and allegedly tried to hit her with his car. She moved to the side of his car and he reportedly said to her, “What, do you want my name and number too so you can call CAIR because your feelings are hurt?” He then drove away.

The woman praised Costco staff for their actions in her defense.

“We urge local and state law enforcement authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of this troubling incident and to consider bringing hate crime charges against the alleged perpetrator,” said CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra. “Those who target Americans because of their race or religion must feel the full weight of the law.”

He noted that CAIR-SV recently called for a similar investigation of vandalism of a California mosque.

Elkarra added that just last week, CAIR called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for a shooting incident targeting a Mississippi mosque.

Earlier this month, a man threatened staff at CAIR's Columbus, Ohio, office.

CAIR's Washington state chapter recently held a news conference to ask the FBI to investigate apparently bias-motivated incidents targeting a mosque in that state.

In December, CAIR urged a hate crime probe of hate graffiti sprayed on the Islamic Society of the Appalachian Region near Princeton, W.Va. 

Video: CAIR Asks FBI to Probe W. Virginia Mosque Vandalism as Hate Crime  

Last year, CAIR welcomed an arrest in the case of a Joplin, Mo., mosque targeted by arson in 2012.

In response to previous attacks on American mosques, CAIR published a booklet called “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety” 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.

To request a free e-copy of CAIR's “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety,” go to:    

CAIR recently published a major report, “Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its Impact in the United States,” which identifies 37 organizations dedicated to promoting the type of anti-Islam prejudice that can lead to bias-motivated incidents targeting American 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,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171,


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