(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/6/2008) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on the FBI to launch a hate crime investigation into an Election Night assault on a New York Muslim by a gang allegedly angry that Barack Obama was elected president.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said media reports indicate that four “white men” beat a Muslim of Liberian heritage as he was walking near his Staten Island home. The victim said the alleged attackers jumped from a car and attacked him after shouting “Obama.” Local law enforcement authorities are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
SEE: Gang Angry at Barack Obama Win Beat Me, Says Staten Island Teen (NY Daily News)
“This incident should be of great concern to all Americans, not only because of the apparent bias motive, but because of its possible negative impact on equal participation in the political process,” said Aliya Latif, civil rights director of CAIR’s New York chapter.
Earlier this week, CAIR called on the FBI and local police to investigate a paintball attack on a Maryland mosque as a possible hate crime. Other acts of vandalism have targeted Muslim individuals and Islamic institutions in Illinois, Nebraska and nationwide.
Last month, a North Carolina man was sentenced to 45 days in federal prison for e-mailing a death threat to CAIR and a Hispanic group.
SEE: Hispanic Activists Cite an Uptick in Threats of Violence (Washington Post)
Law enforcement authorities in California are investigating a recent death threat against a Muslim candidate for the Irvine City Council. In April, CAIR sought hate crime charges against the alleged perpetrator of a March “Molotov cocktail” attack on a Kansas Muslim. That same month, CAIR’s Minnesota chapter asked the FBI to investigate reported threats against the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy charter school in that state as possible hate crimes.
The Kansas assault and the threats to the Minnesota school came following other incidents such as a fire-bomb attack on a Minnesota Muslim-owned business and an arson attack on a Tennessee mosque by three members of the white-supremacist “Christian Identity” movement.
CAIR is concerned that the general level of anti-Muslim bias has been increased by the distribution of the anti-Muslim film “Obsession” to 28 million households in presidential election swing states nationwide.
SEE: Group Swamps Swing States with Movie on Radical Islam (Washington Post)
SEE ALSO: Obsession with Hate
The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group is urging Muslims nationwide to review security procedures using advice contained in its “Muslim Community Safety Kit.”
SEE: CAIR Muslim Community Safety Kit
In September, CAIR released its annual report on the status of American Muslim civil rights. That report, called “Without Fear of Discrimination,” outlined 2,652 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2007.
To view the entire report, click here.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza N. Ali, 212-870-2002, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif, 212-870-2002, 732-429-4268, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com