Hawaii Mosque targeted by hate literature
The FBI is investigating hate literature distributed at an Islamic center in Hawaii warning that Muslims in that state will be watched by “patriotic residents.” Officials with the Muslim Association of Hawaii in Honolulu report that hundreds of small leaflets, headlined “ATTENTION RAG HEADS,” were thrown into the fenced yard of the mosque sometime after 8 a.m. today.
The incident prompted a national Islamic civil rights group to call for increased police protection in the area of the mosque.
The leaflets distributed at the center read in part: “During the war on terrorism, the vigilant, patriotic residents of Hawaii will be keeping an eye on our Muslim ‘friends’”¦[vulgar references deleted.]”¦every curry fundraiser will be checked to ensure that funds are not being funneled to support terrorist groups. Anyone found in violation will be strapped with explosives and shipped to Iraq. MAY GOD (NOT ALAH) BLESS AMERICA!! (The word “Allah” was misspelled in the original leaflet.)
“We believe the small minority of bigots in our society are being encouraged to take such actions by the anti-Muslim rhetoric coming from right-wing and evangelical leaders. Purveyors of hate believe they can act with impunity because of the silence of elected officials on the issue of Islamophobia,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group. He called on local law enforcement authorities to step up security in the vicinity of the Honolulu mosque and asked local religious and political leaders to support the Muslim community.
As evidence of the rise in anti-Islamic hate speech, Awad cited attacks on Islam and the Prophet Muhammad by Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. A coalition of Muslim groups recently asked President Bush to repudiate those attacks. The president has not yet responded to that appeal.
In just the last two months, there was a shooting attack on an Ohio mosque, vandalism at Islamic centers in Virginia and Idaho, and the revelation of a detailed plan to attack some 50 Florida mosques and schools. Other American mosques and Islamic institutions have received threatening messages.
CAIR is seeking to counter anti-Muslim hate in American society with its Library Project, a campaign to encourage Muslim individuals and groups to sponsor 18-item “library packages” of accurate and objective books, videos and audio cassettes about Islam and Muslims for distribution to as many as 16,000 public libraries nationwide. (SEE: www.libraryproject.org) There are an estimated 3,000 Muslims in Hawaii and some seven million in the United States.