(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/30/15) â€“ The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a felony charge brought against a teenager for allegedly vandalizing a Virginia mosque and urged investigators to consider some form of â€œrestorative justiceâ€ for the crime.
Two 16-year-old suspects were reportedly caught on surveillance video last week breaking glass in the front doors of Masjid An Nur Islamic Center in Roanoke, Va. One of the teenagers has now been charged with one felony count of property damage. Charges are pending against the other suspect. Mosque officials say the house of worship has been targeted by vandals for more than a year.
SEE: Teen Charged with Felony Property Damage After Damaging Roanoke Mosque
On Saturday, CAIR called for federal hate crime investigations and stepped-up police protection for that mosque and for a Tennessee mosque targeted by an online arson threat.
SEE: CAIR Asks Feds to Probe Vandalism, Threat Targeting Mosques in Virginia and Tennessee
â€œWe welcome the felony charge in this case and hope the full force of the law will be brought against both suspects for allegedly targeting a house of worship,â€ said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. â€œBecause of the history of hate incidents faced by worshipers at the mosque, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to consider a possible bias motive for the crime.â€
Hooper added that some form of restorative justice would also be welcome following any convictions in the caseÂ because of the age of the alleged perpetrators.
He said CAIR is urging community leaders to obtain and implement safety measures outlined in its booklet, “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety.” The booklet may be requested through CAIR's website: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.htmlÂ Â Â
CAIR also asks Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.htmlÂ
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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