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CAIR-WA: Hate Crime Defendant to Plead Guilty in Attack on Muslim Taxi Driver

cab driver punched called terroristDriver punched repeatedly in face by member of the U.S. Navy, threatened with being shot, called 'terrorist'

(SEATTLE, WA, 6/9/2015) – Later today, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) will attend a plea hearing at the King County Courthouse, at which the defendant Jesse A. Fleming will plead guilty on two criminal charges stemming from his hate-motivated attack in early December, 2014, on an American Muslim taxi driver in Seattle.

The driver, who is an American Muslim, a U.S. citizen and a father of four young children, says he was punched repeatedly in the face while driving, causing him to lose consciousness and hit two parked cars and crash into an apartment building. A local television station says 26-year old Jesse Fleming, a member of the U.S. Navy stationed in Everett, reportedly called the Muslim driver ethnic and religious slurs such as “terrorist†and threatened to shoot the driver.

CAIR-WA reiterated its request to the US military to take appropriate action against Jesse Fleming and any other military personnel involved in the brutal attack, based on its own investigation.  CAIR-WA will also ask prosecutors to seek maximum penalties in the case. 

WHAT: Hate Crime Defendant to Plead Guilty in Hate Attack on Muslim Taxi Driver
WHEN: Tuesday, June 9, 1 p.m. (Pacific)
WHERE: King County Courthouse, Judge Ramsdell, W-813. 516 Third Avenue, Seattle, WA
CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-931-3655, E-Mail: abukhari@cair.com

“We are asking prosecutors to seek maximum penalties in this case so that the perpetrators are met with the full force of the law. Community members need to know that the law is on their side if they stand up and report hate incidents,†said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari. “We are still waiting for the Department of the Navy to publicly clarify whether it has given a dishonorable discharge to Jesse Fleming after he allegedly committed this vicious hate-based attack on a fellow American. We expect a clear, public response from the Navy soon.â€Â 

[NOTE: In 2013, CAIR-WA welcomed a federal hate crime indictment brought against a man accused of beating a Sikh taxi driver while shouting anti-Muslim slurs. In February of this year, CAIR-WA asked the FBI to investigate apparently bias-motivated incidents targeting a mosque in that state.]

CAIR says these and other incidents may be part of a spike in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide.
  
CAIR is asking American Muslims to contact a local CAIR chapter to report any bias incidents.

A CAIR booklet, “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety,” 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 by going to: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html

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: CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-931-3655, E-Mail: abukhari@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

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