Last week's attempted firebombing of an Islamic center in El Paso
represents the latest in a renewed rash of hate crimes against Muslims in
Texas, the director of Houston's Council on American-Islamic Relations said
Iesa Galloway, executive director of CAIR in Houston, called on political
and religious leaders Monday to condemn the attack in El Paso, calling it
an act of "Islamophobia," a term he said was coined by his organization.
"This," said Galloway, "is the latest in a trend of attacks that have been
happening across Texas."
Galloway said other recent acts include a dry-ice bomb that exploded in a
mailbox at a Houston-area Islamic center, a series of arsons in San Antonio
that targeted Muslim-owned businesses and graffiti and other hateful
incidents in McAllen.
Galloway said he believes that hate crimes against Muslims have spiked
during the past six months.
In last Friday's incident in El Paso, a homemade gasoline bomb was thrown
into the Islamic center's back yard, where five children were playing after
weekly prayer services. The bomb failed to ignite, although some of the
children were splashed with gasoline. A second gasoline bomb was placed on
the center's gas meter but failed to explode.
El Paso police arrested Antonio Flores, 57, who was charged with arson and
is facing federal hate-crime and civil rights charges.
U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, joined Galloway in urging
political leaders to condemn the violence against Muslims, who have been
particularly targeted since Sept. 11, 2001, when Islamic extremists flew
airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon...
CONTACT: CAIR-Houston, 713-838-2247, 832-656-044