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CAIR Seeks Hate Crime Charges for Two Bias Attacks on Muslims in Maine

Obrien-mugshot(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/21/14) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to bring hate crime charges against the perpetrators of two alleged bias-motivated attacks on Muslims in Maine.

In one incident on October 12, a customer allegedly shouted “I hate Somali people” and “I hate black people” at a Muslim taxi driver before threatening to kill him, smashing his windshield and then taking a shot at him. The alleged attacker was arrested by Westbrook, Maine, police and charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, aggravated reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and falsifying physical evidence.

A second incident on October 14 involved a Muslim woman and her 12-year-old daughter being threatened at a 7-Eleven in Portland, Maine. A man allegedly threatened to cut the girl's throat “like ISIS” and mockingly shouted “Allah Akbar” (“God is great”), a common Muslim phrase. The assailant reportedly left the store and retrieved an unknown item from his car but was prevented from re-entering by another customer.

Chapter 337-B of Maine's Civil Rights Act (5 §4684-A) states that “a person has the right to engage in lawful activities without being subject to physical force or violence, damage or destruction of property, trespass on property or the threat of physical force or violence, damage or destruction of property or trespass on property motivated by reason of race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation.”

“We believe these disturbing cases, like other recent incidents targeting American Muslims, are symptoms of an unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim sentiment and must be strongly condemned by our nation's leaders,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We urge law enforcement authorities to send a strong message of support for the American Muslim community by bringing appropriate hate crime charges against the perpetrators in these cases.”

He thanked the Westbrook Police Department for its swift apprehension of the alleged attacker of the Muslim taxi driver.

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Hooper noted that earlier this month, CAIR's San Diego chapter asked the FBI to investigate a threatening letter with an unknown substance sent to a local Mosque.

Last week, CAIR's Cincinnati chapter urged state and national law enforcement authorities to investigate threats made against a Muslim candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives as a hate crime.

Also last week, CAIR asked the principal of Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Md., to investigate a teacher who allegedly made a series of anti-Muslim statements to his class.

Video: CAIR Asks for Probe of Maryland Teacher's Anti-Muslim Comments to Students

CAIR recently launched Islamophobia.org to monitor and challenge the growing anti-Muslim bigotry in American society.

The website shows that anti-Muslim bigotry is being promoted by a well-coordinated and well-financed network of Islamophobes who seek to demonize Islam and marginalize American Muslims.

For example, CAIR recently welcomed the decision by a Vancouver, Wash., mayor to boycott a prayer breakfast in that city due to the scheduled appearance of notorious anti-Muslim bigot retired Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin as keynote speaker at the event.

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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, arubin@cair.com

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