WASHINGTON, July 25, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called for federal hate crime investigations and stepped-up police protection for a Virginia mosque targeted by vandalism and harassment with hate rhetoric, and for an online arson threat to a Tennessee mosque.
Officials at Masjid An Nur Islamic Center in Roanoke, Va., say the mosque has been targeted by vandals for more than a year. Surveillance video shows vandals breaking glass in the mosque's front doors early Thursday morning.
During a local television station's interview with mosque officials, neighbors could be heard shouting obscenities and "terrorist" at worshipers. Charges are pending against two juveniles for the most recent vandalism.
Video: Leaders at Roanoke Mosque Say Worship Center Targeted by Vandals
Video: Roanoke Mosque Dealing with Harassment, Vandalism
In Tennessee, the Muslim Community Center of Northeast Tennessee in Johnson City was reportedly targeted by an online threat of arson, according to a mosque official. Center officials have asked for increased patrols during prayer times.
SEE: Investigation Underway Into Threat Made Against Muslim Community Center
"All Americans should be free to worship without fear of harassment, intimidation or violence, and it is the responsibility of state and federal law enforcement authorities to ensure that freedom of religion is protected," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
Hooper said the Roanoke mosque is the second Islamic house of worship in that state targeted by vandalism this month.
Video: CAIR Rep Urges Probe of Possible Bias Motive for Vandalism at Virginia Mosque
All the incidents fit a pattern of increased hate-motivated crimes and bias incidents nationwide targeting persons and property associated, or perceived to be associated, with Islam and the American Muslim community.
Video: CAIR-Chicago Asks Mosques to Be on Alert After Vandalism
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Video: CAIR-Cincinnati Rep Says Kentucky 'Muslim-Free Zone' is Illegal, Un-American
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CAIR is urging community leaders to obtain and implement safety measures outlined in 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.
CAIR also asks 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.
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)