'Person of interest' caught on surveillance camera before fire
WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator of an arson attack on an Ohio mosque. CAIR also urged national leaders to address the growing number of anti-Muslim hate incidents.
Perrysburg Township Police released surveillance photographs of a "person of interest" in an intentionally-set fire Sunday at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo. The man seen in the photographs is a white male wearing a camouflage hat and sweatshirt. Authorities also released a photograph of a red vehicle driving onto the property.
The fire was set when the mosque was empty and caused smoke and water damage on the second floor. In 2008, a Toledo man pleaded guilty to making threatening phone calls to the same mosque.
"We hope this reward will result in the arrest and conviction of whoever tried to destroy an American house of worship," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "We believe the ever-growing list of anti-Muslim incidents nationwide is being prompted by rising, and largely unchallenged, Islamophobic rhetoric in public discourse."
In September, CAIR called on the FBI to investigate hate vandalism at mosques in Virginia and New York. In August, CAIR asked authorities to investigate a suspicious fire at a mosque in Minnesota.
Also last month, CAIR submitted written testimony for a Senate hearing on hate crimes and the threat of domestic extremism. The hearing was prompted by the national string of violent and deadly attacks targeting Sikhs and American Muslims and their institutions and houses of worship.
SEE: Calif. Mosque Receiving Hate Mail
Video: Islamophobia in America, Part 1 (CAIR)
Video: Islamophobia in America, Part 2 (CAIR)
The testimony, submitted for the hearing by CAIR and published online, includes information on the rise of "107 anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2009 to 160 in 2010" and the "thirteen days in August, the days immediately after the shocking murders of Sikh worshippers in Wisconsin, [when] there were 8 incidents in which Muslim places of worship were targeted."
CAIR's testimony also provides a listing of active anti-Muslim groups and individuals in the United States and recommendations on how to put an end to "the full range of threats posed by individual and organized perpetrators of violent hate crimes and criminal acts of domestic extremism."
In advance of the hearing, CAIR issued "Thirteen Days in Ramadan 2012," a preliminary report on a spike in anti-mosque incidents that occurred in late August.
CAIR Report: Thirteen Days in Ramadan 2012
Muslim individuals and institutions are being asked to review advice on security procedures in CAIR's "Community Security and Safety Tips."
SEE: CAIR Community Safety and Security Tips
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-Cleveland Executive Director Julia A. Shearson, 216-830-2247 or 216-440-2247, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations