A prominent national Islamic civil rights and
advocacy group today said a Muslim prayer area on the American University
campus in Washington, D.C., was vandalized on the anniversary of the 9/11
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said
Muslim students who went to pray on Saturday at the university’s Kay
Spiritual Life Center found a picture of the Great Mosque in Mecca smashed
and a copy of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, damaged. A donation box in
the prayer area was not disturbed. Campus police are investigating the
CAIR called on American University officials and the FBI to investigate the
vandalism as a possible hate crime.
Muslim students had taken part in a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in the
spiritual center on September 10. Student representatives say some 50
people attend Islamic prayers on campus each Friday.
“Since the 9/11 attacks, we have witnessed a disturbing rise in anti-Muslim
rhetoric in our society,” said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
“We believe rhetorical attacks on the faith of Islam and on American
Muslims create an atmosphere that breeds these types of incidents.”
Hooper also expressed concern about a series of similar incidents of
vandalism reported recently by Muslims nationwide. At the end of August, a
Muslim in Tucson, Ariz., reported that his family’s car and a racist note
was taped to the vehicle.
A New York Muslim reported finding his car window smashed with a brick. In
Virginia, a Muslim reported two separate incidents of vandalism to a car.
And in New Jersey, a Muslim found his car’s windshield smashed in his
Also in New Jersey, a Muslim driver reported being attacked by a white male
in another car who punched him in the face while he was sitting in his car
at a traffic light. During the incident, the attacker reportedly called the
victim a “terrorist” and a “sand n*gger.”
CAIR recently called on the FBI to investigate an intentionally-set fire at
a Muslim store in McAllen, Texas, as a possible hate crime and sought
felony charges in a bias attack on a New York Muslim taxi driver.
In July, two Muslim teenagers in Buffalo, N.Y., say they were targeted by
white teenagers who shouted ethnic slurs and then tried to hit the girls
with their car. A Muslim woman driver in Illinois and a Muslim shopper in
California were assaulted at the end of June by attackers shouting
anti-Muslim and racist slurs.
Earlier this year in Florida, vandals wrote “Kill all Muslims” inside the
Islamic Community Center in the Tampa suburb of Lutz. The FBI is also
investigating vandalism and threatening messages targeting the Islamic
Community of Southwest Florida in Charlotte Harbor. In Missouri, vandals
painted a Nazi swastika and the word “die” on an addition under
construction at the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis. Three Miami
Islamic centers were vandalized.
In Texas, a man was arrested for threatening an El Paso Islamic center, an
arson suspect was arrested at the scene of a fire at a Muslim business in
San Antonio and vandals scrawled racist graffiti on the interior of a
Lubbock mosque. A home-made bomb exploded in the mailbox of a Houston,
Texas, Islamic center.
As a response to these and other anti-Muslim incidents, CAIR published a
“Muslim Community Safety Kit.” The safety kit may be obtained free of
charge by e-mailing email@example.com. (Include name, address and phone
number when requesting the safety kit.)
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
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