Muslim civil rights group calls for FBI hate crime probe
OKLAHOMA CITY, Aug. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate a paintball attack on an Oklahoma mosque as a hate crime.
CAIR-OK said vandals fired numerous paintballs at the doors of the Grand Mosque of Oklahoma City early Sunday and then fled the scene. The attack, which the mosque's director first thought was a volley of bullets, was captured on surveillance video. Local police are investigating the incident.
Video: Vandals Shoot Paintballs at OKC Mosque
"We call on the FBI to join with state law enforcement authorities in investigating this disturbing incident as a hate crime targeting an American house of worship," said CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani. "The growing number of these attacks should be of concern to national religious and political leaders who have an important role to play in challenging the rising level of anti-Muslim rhetoric in our society, and particularly Islamophobic rhetoric coming from the right-wing of the political spectrum."
Soltani said CAIR-OK has developed a "Community Safety Guide" to help protect against anti-Muslim bigotry and to protect constitutional rights.
SEE: CAIR-OK Community Safety Guide
He noted that Chicago Muslims spoke out against fear-mongering comments made by Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh in which he said that Islamic radicals were living in Chicago's suburbs. A diverse group of Muslims, Jews and Christians held a press conference Friday in downtown Chicago to warn against the effects of such irresponsible remarks.
Video: Rep. Walsh Under Fire for Comments About Muslims (CAIR)
Video: Chicago Muslims Outraged by Rep. Walsh's Comments (CAIR)
Soltani also cited the recent smear campaign by Rep. Michele Bachmann targeting American Muslims who seek to contribute to the nation through public service.
SEE: CAIR 'Grateful' Constitution Limits Michele Bachmann's McCarthyism
CAIR recently called on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to clarify his decision to meet privately with a key figure in the Islamophobia movement, retired Lieutenant General William G. "Jerry" Boykin.
SEE: CAIR Asks Romney to Explain Meeting with Infamous Islamophobe
On Saturday, CAIR's Chicago office reported that that two air rifle shots were fired at the outer wall of the Muslim Education Center (MEC) mosque in Morton Grove, Ill.
CAIR: Man Arrested for Shooting at Chicago-Area Mosque as Hundreds Worship Inside
Video: Man Arrested for Shooting at Illinois Mosque (CAIR)
Last week, CAIR's national headquarters issued a community safety advisory for American mosques following other incidents targeting Muslim houses of worship in Missouri and Rhode Island and after the deadly shooting attack Sunday on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
SEE: CAIR Issues Safety Advisory After Another Mosque Targeted
In one incident, a Missouri mosque previously targeted by an arsonist burned to the ground. In California, pig legs were left at a southern California mosque and four teens face hate crime charges for harassing worshipers at a northern California mosque.
CAIR: Islamic Group Asks for Investigation of Pig Legs at Mosque Site
CAIR: Arson, Vandalism at Mosques Not Uncommon (Joplin Globe)
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad just completed on a national tour of communities targeted by hatred and bigotry.
Earlier this week he traveled with a CAIR team to Joplin, Mo., to meet with law enforcement officials and community leaders about the burned mosque. On Friday, Awad was in Murfreesboro, Tenn., for the opening of a mosque that has been targeted by a campaign of Islamophobia. Awad traveled to Wisconsin on Sunday to meet with Muslim community leaders in Milwaukee to discuss the attack on a Sikh temple targeted by white supremacist.
CAIR: After a Struggle, Mosque Opens in Tennessee (NY Times)
CAIR: First Prayer Service Held in Tennessee Mosque (NPR)
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-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani, 405-248-5853, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; 202-870-0166; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations