Press Releases

FBI Asked to Assist Probe of VA Fire, Racist Graffiti

 

A fire set last Wednesday morning causes extensive damage to a Virginia gas station owned by members of the Sikh faith. Picture Source: Sikh Coalition
A fire set last Wednesday morning
causes extensive damage to a
Virginia gas station owned by
members of the Sikh faith.
Picture Source: Sikh Coalition

WASHINGTON, DC, 11/29/04) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on the FBI to assist in the investigation of a fire at a Virginia gas station that may have been motivated by anti-Muslim or anti-Arab bias.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said officials with the Chesterfield County Police Department reported racist graffiti such as “F*** Arab go home” in the vicinity of a fire that did extensive damage to a local gas station early last Wednesday morning. The gas station is owned by members of the Sikh faith. (Since the 9/11 terror attacks, a number of Sikh men who wear turbans have been targeted because they were mistaken for Muslims.)

SEE: “Racial Attack on Sikh Gas Station in US”
http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1126465,00050001.htm

Local law enforcement authorities tell CAIR that the incident is under investigation as a possible hate crime. Arson investigators say the blaze is being treated as a “set fire.” A suspect had initially been identified, but no charges have been filed.

CAIR’s Virginia office (CAIR-MD/VA) is also in communication with the FBI
and with local representatives of the Sikh Coalition, the group that first
reported the incident. SEE: http://www.sikhcoalition.org/

As a response to post-9/11 anti-Muslim incidents, CAIR published a “Muslim
Community Safety Kit.” The safety kit may be obtained free of charge by
e-mailing pubs@cair-net.org. (Include name, address and phone number when
requesting the safety kit.)

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, is headquartered in
Washington, D.C., and has 29 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue,
protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions
that promote justice and mutual understanding.

– END –

CONTACT: CAIR-MD/VA, Rizwan Mowlana, 301-672-9355;
Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair-net.org;
Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair-net.org

 

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