In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VIDEO SHOWS BULLET-RIDDLED QURAN THROWN AT TENN. MOSQUE
CAIR calls on DOJ to probe incident as violation of civil rights
(WASHINGTON, DC, 7/10/06) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the Justice Department to investigate an incident in Tennessee in which a bullet-riddled Quran was thrown at the entrance of a mosque as a possible violation of civil rights.
CAIR said the perpetrators of the incident videotaped their actions and then posted the video online. (The video was placed online June 17, 2006, but the actual incident may have taken place last summer.) The two men are first shown shooting a copy of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, with a “Colt M-16.” (An M-16 is a fully-automatic military weapon that is not legal for personal use.) They then take the Quran to a mosque and throw it at the entrance while shouting what sounds like “Jesus rocks.”
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The Imam, or prayer leader, of the Islamic Center of Chattanooga said the minister of a nearby church told him he saw the men videotaping the mosque, “ran them off” and called local police.
The author of the www.myspace.com/mully88 site identifies himself as “mully88” and claims to live in Chattanooga, Tenn. “White Power” theme music plays on the site and the author’s profile lists as heroes “anybody that has killed a muslim or at least tried to kill a muslim.” The site also contains slurs targeting Hispanics and African-Americans.
“By throwing the bullet-riddled Quran at the mosque, we believe the perpetrators went beyond the limits of free speech by taking part in an overt act of religious intimidation,” said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar.
Iftikhar compared the men’s actions to those who burn crosses on the lawns of African-Americans. In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that states can punish those who burn crosses with the intention to intimidate.
In addition, Iftikhar said the men’s actions may have violated provisions of federal civil rights statutes. He cited Title 18, United States Code, Section 241, “Conspiracy Against Civil Rights,” which makes it a crime to “conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States.”
On Friday, CAIR called on local and national law enforcement authorities to investigate vandalism at an Indiana mosque as a possible hate crime. The vandals shot holes in the copper dome of the mosque, smashed a number of windows and scratched “KKK” on the center’s sign.
There have been a number of similar incidents targeting the American Muslim community in recent months.
Just this week, a man was charged for throwing a pig’s head into a mosque in Maine during evening prayers. Media reports indicate that investigators in Ohio are looking into the possibility that an arson fire and explosion at a business owned by a family of Middle East heritage was a hate crime. Last month, a hate message attacking the Prophet Muhammad and claiming “Muslims Worship Satan” was left near an Arizona mosque. In April, shots were fired into a Maryland mosque.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices, chapters and affiliates 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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