The Florida office of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL) today called on the FBI to investigate
an attack on a Tampa-area Islamic center as a possible hate crime.
Officials of the Islamic Community Center in the Tampa suburb of Lutz,
Fla., told CAIR-FL that vandals wrote “Kill all Muslims” and “F**k Allah”
on the interior walls of the center. They also broke windows and damaged or
destroyed other items in the facility. Local law enforcement authorities
have begun an investigation of the incident. Community members discovered
the graffiti and other vandalism on Friday.
“We call on the FBI to investigate this attack as a possible hate crime and
ask local law enforcement authorities to step up patrols near Islamic
institutions in Florida,” said CAIR-FL Communications Director Ahmed
Bedier. He noted that just last month, three Miami Islamic centers were
“With the recent increase of violence in Iraq and the killing of an
American civilian in Saudi Arabia, the Islamic community in Florida is
concerned about a possible anti-Muslim backlash,” said CAIR-FL Executive
Director Altaf Ali. Ali added that the rising level of Islamophobic
rhetoric in American society can lead to attacks on Muslims.
Incidents targeting mosques and Islamic centers have occurred recently
across America. For example, a man was arrested recently for threatening an
El Paso, Texas, Islamic center. Also in Texas, 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.
There are an estimated 35,000 Muslims in the Tampa Bay are, mainly
professionals, business owners or students at area universities or colleges.