Leaders say incident is part of nationwide rise in hate crimes targeting American Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim
(SPOKANE, WA, 7/8/2015) â€“ OnÂ Thursday, July 9, the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA), along with local Muslim, interfaith and community leaders, will hold a news conference to call on state law enforcement authorities and the FBI to investigate apparently bias-motivated vandalism targeting the Bosnia Herzegovina Heritage Association of Spokane.
The phrase â€œDeath to Islamâ€ was spray-painted on the exterior of the center, which is being used for Muslim prayers during the month-long fast of Ramadan, possibly while congregants were performing the evening prayers on Saturday, July 4.Â Worshipers saw the graffiti when they exited the center.
WHAT:Â Interfaith and Community Leaders to Seek Federal Hate Crime Investigation of Vandalism Targeting Spokane Muslim Community Center
WHEN: Thursday, July 9, 10:45 a.m.
WHERE: Bosnia Herzegovina Heritage Association of Spokane,Â 2110 East Broadway Avenue, Suite B, Spokane, WA 99202
CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-931-3655,Â firstname.lastname@example.org
The incident appears to fit a pattern of increased hate-motivated crimes nationwide targeting persons and property associated, or perceived to be associated, with Islam and the American Muslim community.
SEE: No Jail Term for Threats Against a Muslim Man (NY Times)
Ex-Congressional Hopeful Indicted in Alleged Anti-Muslim Plot
CAIR is also asking for the publicâ€™s help in identifying the perpetrators of the hate vandalism.Â
A recent Washington Post article cited FBI hate crimes statistics showing that anti-Muslim hate crimes are still at about 5 times more common than they were before 9/11.
SEE: Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Still Five Times More Common Today Than Before 9/11
“'We take all hate crime related incidents very seriously. The Human Rights Commission intends to ensure this is investigated thoroughly,â€ said Blaine Stum, Chair of Spokane Human Rights Commission. â€œWe call on everyone in our community to stand against Islamophobia, and embrace our local Muslim community with love and compassion.â€
“As the Spokane area, our state and our nation grow in diversity, law enforcement authorities must send a strong message that people of all faiths, races and ethnicities belong here and that our children can go to school and places of worship without fear of bullying or hate crimes,â€ said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari. â€œThe FBI and the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s office must also send a clear message to the public that those who target Americans because of their race, religion, ethnicity, or other protected status will be met with the full force of the law.”
Bukhari noted that there have been a number of similar incidents nationwide including at least 15 bias-motivated attacks in WA in the past year, including the following:
SEE: Series of Incidents Targeting Bothell Mosque
Letter Documenting Incidents Targeting Bothell Mosque
Woodinville/Maltby Area Muslim Cemetery Vandalized
Seattle Muslim Taxi Driver Viciously Beaten, Called Religious, Ethnic Slurs
Bothell Hindu Temple and SkyView Junior High Vandalized
Man Yells, â€œN—gers, get out!â€ at Bothell Hindu Temple Members
Kent Hindu Temple Vandalized
In February 2015, a Spokane-area Muslim woman was attacked by a man yelling slurs, while she was picking up daughter from school bus stop.
In March 2015, a female Seattle-area college student was threatened by a man yelling religious slurs after he broke window of UW area Muslim community center.
SEE: Muslim Woman in SeaTac Threatened with Gun
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.