WASHINGTON, July 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called for state and federal hate crime investigations of what officials are calling a "suspicious" fire at a Missouri mosque.
CAIR said the fire occurred early Wednesday at the Islamic Society of Joplin in Joplin, Mo. A passer-by noticed the fire just before 4 a.m. and it was extinguished before causing major damage to the mosque. The FBI has been called in to investigate and tapes from security cameras are being reviewed by authorities.
An official with the Islamic Society of Joplin told CAIR that the mosque's sign was burned and shot in the past and that passengers in cars cruising by the mosque periodically shout anti-Muslim slurs at worshippers.
"Given the suspicious nature of the fire, and the past incidents targeting this mosque and Missouri's Muslim community, state and federal officials should investigate this case as a possible hate crime," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
Hooper said that because of this and other incidents targeting American mosques, CAIR is urging Muslim individuals and institutions to review advice on security procedures contained in its "Muslim Community Safety Kit."
SEE: Muslim Community Safety Kit
Last year, CAIR called on law enforcement authorities to investigate a "terrorist threat" and desecrated religious texts that were used to target a Springfield, Mo., mosque. Earlier that year, hate graffiti was written on outer walls of the threatened mosque. The graffiti included obscenities, a Star of David and the words, "You bash us in Pakistan, we bash you here."
In June of this year, the FBI said there have been "positive developments" in the investigation.
CAIR's Minnesota chapter recently called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a possible bias motive for a city's rejection of a proposed Islamic center.
CAIR-MN: Interfaith Event to Support Muslims in St. Anthony
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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SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)