[Update 7/8/10: A Muslim man has been arrested and charged with 1st degree arson in this case; officials have ruled out the possibility that it was a hate crime.]
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/6/10) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the FBI to investigate a possible bias motive for a fire at a Georgia mosque that officials say “appears” to be intentionally set.
CAIR reported that the fire broke out late Monday at the Islamic Center of Marietta (Masjid Al-Hedaya) and resulted in severe damage to the facility. Evidence of forcible entry and vandalism were discovered at the site. Local authorities are investigating the blaze as a possible hate crime.
SEE: Marietta Mosque Damaged, Arson Suspected (AJC)
Official: Mosque Fire was Arson
“Given the recent wave of incidents targeting American mosques, a possible bias motive for this apparent arson attack must be considered,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Unfortunately, there is a vocal minority in our society promoting anti-Muslim bigotry, and that minority is experiencing little or no pushback from mainstream religious and political leaders.”
He said other recent Islamophobic incidents include a hate rally yesterday against a Florida mosque and a planned protest against the expansion of an Islamic center in Tennessee.
SEE: Anti-Islam Demonstration in Florida (Video)
Opponents Plan March Against Murfreesboro Mosque
Hooper noted that CAIR recently called on the FBI to investigate a threat made to bomb a proposed mosque in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
SEE: Mosque ‘Bomber,’ Under Investigation by Cops, Changes Story
Mosques in New York also faced hate rhetoric by opponents, as did several others in Tennessee. A mosque in Jacksonville, Fla., was recently the target of a bomb attack. A Houston radio host made a controversial on-air call for the bombing of a proposed mosque and community center in New York City.
SEE: Muslims in USA Face Fears, Bias to Build, Expand Mosques
CAIR Video: Hate Groups Promoting Islamophobia in America
Fla. Mosque Attack Called Terrorism
CAIR Video: Texas Talk Show Host Under Fire for Mosque Bomb Remark
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization is urging American Muslim individuals and institutions to review advice on security procedures contained in its “Muslim Community Safety Kit.”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group. 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, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org