(SAN DIEGO, CA, 7/18/2013) — The San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-San Diego) today urged prosecutors to bring hate crime charges against a man who allegedly walked into a local mosque during early-morning prayers, called worshippers “terrorist rats” and shouted, “I'm going to kill all of you.”
Larry Michael Rodgers, 52, was arrested on suspicion of making terrorist threats after allegedly threatening the congregation of the Islamic Center of San Diego in Clairemont Monday morning. Rodgers remained in jail Wednesday night on $50,000 bail.
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Investigators say they are concerned that Rodgers may have been behind a series of bomb threats in May of this year targeting the Islamic School of San Diego, which is located next to the mosque. One threat left on the school's answering machine said, “I'm going to throw a bomb at your (expletive) school.”
“Based on the apparent bias motive in this case, we urge local, state and federal prosecutors to consider appropriate hate crime enhancements to any charges brought against the alleged perpetrator,” said CAIR-San Diego Executive Director Hanif Mohebi.
Mohebi added that CAIR has an outreach initiative to invite people of other faiths to visit a state mosque during Ramadan. Those interested in visiting a mosque may contact the nearest CAIR chapter for information.
He also noted that CAIR's Texas chapter recently called on local and national law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for acts of vandalism targeting mosques in that state.
In June, CAIR's New Jersey chapter sought a hate crime investigation of vandalism targeting a mosque in that state.
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Vandals recently targeted other mosques in Minnesota and Georgia.
In May, CAIR began distributing new safety and security guidelines to mosques and other Islamic institutions nationwide.
The new CAIR publication, “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety,” was produced in response to recent bias attacks, including a series of incidents last year targeting American Muslim institutions.
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-San Diego Executive Director Hanif Mohebi, 858-774-9991, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org