Reports of alleged hate crimes against U.S. Muslims spike in Chicago area, nationwide
[MEDIA ADVISORY: "White Balloon Protest" today at the southeast corner of Congress and Michigan in downtown Chicago]
CHICAGO, Aug. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) said today that Muslim graves at the Evergreen Cemetery in Evergreen Park, Ill., have been spray-painted with anti-Islam hate graffiti.
CAIR-Chicago said a local Muslim man found the graffiti when he went to the cemetery to pay respects at the grave of his father. The hate graffiti, which included the words "RAGHAED KILLER" (sic) and insults to Islam's Prophet Muhammad, has been reported to cemetery officials and local police.
SEE: Photos of Hate Graffiti on Graves
CAIR-Chicago's staff attorneys are following up on the case with the mayor of Evergreen Park, the Cook County state attorney and the FBI.
MEDIA ADVISORY: On Friday, August 17, CAIR-Chicago will join its partners and leaders of various religious and ethnic communities at a "White Balloon Protest" in downtown Chicago to highlight the recent disturbing spike of violent attacks targeting minority communities in Chicagoland and across the United States.
WHAT: 'White Balloon' Flash Mob Against Hate and Islamophobia
WHEN: Friday, August 17, 5 p.m.
WHERE: Southeast corner of Congress Avenue and Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago
WHO: CAIR-Chicago, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, Interfaith and Interethnic Coalition
CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, 312-212-1520 or 202-870-0166, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the past few days alone, violent incidents in Illinois include a shooting at a mosque in Morton Grove and an acid bomb thrown at an Islamic school in Lombard. In other states, a mosque was burned to the ground in Joplin, Mo., vandals sprayed an Oklahoma mosque with paintballs, pigs legs were thrown at a mosque-site in California, and a firebomb was thrown at a Muslim family's home in Panama City, Fla.
Video: CAIR News Update
Eight Attacks, 11 Days (Salon)
Video: Firebomb Thrown at Florida Muslim Family's Home (CAIR)
CAIR-St. Louis: Interfaith Leaders Support Joplin Mosque (Video)
Video: CAIR-LA Asks DOJ to Launch Probe of Pig Legs Left at Mosque Site
Video: Vandals Shoot Paintballs at OKC Mosque
CAIR-Chicago: Islamic Groups Alarmed by Suburban Incidents
CAIR: Arson, Vandalism at Mosques Not Uncommon (Joplin Globe)
In the worst incident, six Sikhs were gunned down by a white supremacist in Wisconsin.
CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said: "It should disturb every American that this is happening in 2012. Are we moving forward or regressing? No one should have to live in fear of being harassed, shot, bombed, injured, or killed simply because of their faith, race or ethnicity. Not here, not now, not after all this country has been through in the civil rights movement. Those who stoke the fires of hate must be held to public account and those who commit violent acts against minority communities must be given the maximum punishment under the law."
He said Chicago Muslim leaders have called out the GOP in particular, given the shameful track record of Islamophobic rhetoric from members of that political party.
Last week, CAIR's national headquarters issued a community safety advisory for American mosques following the incidents targeting Muslim houses of worship in Missouri and Rhode Island and after the deadly shooting attack on the Sikh temple.
SEE: CAIR Issues Safety Advisory After Another Mosque Targeted
CAIR is also concerned about safety and security during upcoming end-of-Ramadan celebrations and prayers in cities nationwide this weekend.
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.
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CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, 312-212-1520 or 202-870-0166, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Aymen Abdel Halim, 312-212-1520, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)