A prominent national Islamic civil rights and
advocacy group today urged state and federal law enforcement authorities to
treat attacks on a Muslim woman driver in Illinois and on a Muslim shopper
in California as hate crimes.
The driver in Illinois, a Muslim convert who wears an Islamic head scarf,
told the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that
she was attacked June 26 after being approached by a group of two women and
one man at a stop sign in Freeport, Ill. She said the attackers began
kicking her car and shouting anti-Muslim slurs after asking for a “light.”
One of the attackers allegedly shouted: “Stupid Muslims”¦F***ing Muslims”¦Go
back to your country.” When the victim got out of her car, she was
allegedly punched a number of times, resulting in trauma to her head. Her
head scarf was also torn off during the assault.
One of the female attackers was charged with misdemeanor battery, but law
enforcement authorities tell CAIR that the charge may be upgraded to a
felony based on the allegations of a bias motive.
Early this morning in California, a Muslim shopper of Middle Eastern
descent was assaulted outside a San Diego grocery store. The perpetrator
allegedly shouted racist slurs before striking the victim in the face and
knocking out his front tooth. Slurs allegedly included: “You f***ing
Arab”¦Get out of my country.”
“Given the apparent bias motives of the perpetrators in both cases, it is
imperative that these attacks be treated as hate crimes and that current or
potential charges be upgraded accordingly,” said CAIR Communications
Director Ibrahim Hooper. Hooper added that these incidents come following a
string of attacks on and threats against Islamic institutions and
In Florida, vandals wrote “Kill all Muslims” inside the Islamic Community
Center in the Tampa suburb of Lutz. The FBI is investigating vandalism and
threatening messages targeting the Islamic Community of Southwest Florida
in Charlotte Harbor. In New Jersey, liquor bottles were thrown on the
grounds of the Islamic Educational Center of North Hudson in Union City.
And in Missouri, vandals painted a Nazi swastika and the word “die” on an
addition under construction at the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis.
Last month, three Miami Islamic centers were vandalized. Similar incidents
have been reported in other states.
In response to attacks on and threats against American Muslim individuals
and communities, CAIR has published a “Muslim Community Safety Kit.” The
safety kit may be obtained by e-mailing email@example.com, or by calling
202-488-8787 and asking for the “Publications Department.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 28 regional
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.
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