The Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR) today 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.
According to the Texas grocery store owner, a U.S. resident of Jordanian
origin, the fire occurred late last week and followed two separate
incidents in which unknown parties painted the phrase “Go Home” on the door
of the store that sells halal meat and other items. (“Halal” for Muslims is
similar to the term “kosher” in Jewish beliefs.) Jewelry kept in the store
was reportedly stolen.
The hate-graffiti appeared just after the store began running
advertisements on local television that featured a Muslim woman wearing an
Islamic head scarf.
Fire officials tell CAIR that the blaze “appears intentionally set” and was
“incendiary” in nature. CAIR has contacted local law enforcement
authorities to ask that a possible bias motive be investigated.
“If whoever set this fire was motivated by anti-Muslim bias, that person
needs to be brought to justice before he or she can strike again,” said
CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “The FBI should use its
resources and expertise to help local law enforcement authorities find the
The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group also asked
that felony charges be brought against a person who allegedly attacked a
Muslim taxi driver in New York.
In that incident, a Bangladeshi Muslim cabbie was punched in the face by a
pedestrian near the World Trade Center site Wednesday after being told “You
are Muslim.” The alleged assailant was charged with third-degree assault
and harassment, both misdemeanors.
SEE: “CABBIE ASSAULTED IN BIAS CRIME”
Other incidents targeting Muslim individuals and Islamic institutions have
occurred recently across America. Late last month, 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.
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.
Earlier this year 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.
In response to 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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