WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is calling on the FBI to join the investigation of hate vandalism targeting an Arkansas mosque. CAIR said the Arkansas vandalism is the latest in a series of hate incidents targeting mosques and Islamic centers nationwide in the past week.
Police in Fort Smith, Ark., are looking for three people who allegedly spray-painted hate graffiti on the outside of Masjid Al Salam mosque. Surveillance video shows the people painting Nazi swastikas and phrases like, "Go Home," "USA," "F___ Islam," "F___ Allah," and "Go Back to Your Country," on the mosque and its signage. Police distributed a photograph from the video showing a white man in a baseball cap apparently painting something on the mosque's wall. A police official said "obvious bias motivations exist in this case."
SEE: Arkansas Mosque Vandalized, Police Say; 3 People Sought
Mosque Vandalized in Fort Smith
Suspects Wanted in Fort Smith Mosque Hate Crime
"Given the recent spike in anti-mosque incidents nationwide, and the targeting of Islam and Muslims in the presidential campaign, we urge the FBI to add its resources to the investigation of this case," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
He said CAIR is urging American Muslims and Islamic institutions to take extra security precautions and is offering Muslim community leaders free copies of its booklet, "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety." The booklet may be requested through CAIR's website: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html
On Saturday, CAIR's Iowa chapter called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate vandalism targeting a mosque in that state as a possible hate crime. Worshipers at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Islamic Community Center-Masjid Al-Noor report that the word "Trump" was painted on the mosque. A police report about the vandalism has been filed.
Video: CAIR Wants 'Trump' Vandalism on Iowa Mosque Investigated as a Hate Crime
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has promoted anti-Muslim policies and has made a number of Islamophobic statements during his campaign, which many commentators link to an unprecedented rise in hate incidents targeting Islamic institutions and ordinary American Muslims.
CAIR: Islamophobia in the 2016 Presidential Election
CAIR: Muslim voters as Donald Trump's nemesis? (Al Jazeera)
CAIR's national office called on state and federal law enforcement authorities nationwide to offer stepped-up protection for mosques and other Islamic institutions following the arrest of three "militia" members who allegedly planned a terror attack on a Kansas mosque and on individual Muslims.
Video: CAIR Seeks Protection for Islamic Institutions After Terror Plot to Attack Kansas Mosque
CAIR-Kansas: 3 Held in Bomb Plot Against Somalis in Kansas (NY Times)
The New Jersey chapter of CAIR called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate hate and pro-Trump graffiti left at a mosque in Bayonne as a possible bias-motivated crime.
The messages, spray-painted on the walls of the temporary location of Bayonne Muslims (625 Avenue C, in Bayonne, NJ), included "F**k Arabs", "Jesus Christ," and "Donald Trump." Worshipers found the hate messages while attending morning prayers.
SEE: CAIR-NJ Asks Feds to Probe Pro-Trump Hate Graffiti Targeting Bayonne Mosque
CAIR's Michigan chapter similarly called for hate crime charges to be brought against a woman who allegedly threatened to blow up a new Islamic center in that state.
SEE: CAIR-MI Seeks Hate Crime Charges for Threats to Dearborn Islamic Center
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization reported that 2016 is on track to be one of the worst years ever for anti-mosque incidents.
CAIR Report: 2016 on Track to Be One of the Worst Years for Anti-Mosque Incidents
The majority of the 2016 incidents have been violent in tone, characterized by intimidation, physical assault and property damage, destruction or vandalism.
In a CAIR survey of Muslim voters released last week, 85 percent of respondents said they believe that Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. has increased in the past year. Thirty percent of Muslim respondents said they have experienced discrimination or profiling in the past year.
SEE: CAIR Muslim Voter Survey Indicates 86 Percent Turnout, Support for Hillary Clinton
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. 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.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)