WASHINGTON May 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported today that an incendiary device exploded Monday evening outside a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque.
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According to a fire department investigator and officials of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, worshipers heard a loud noise outside the mosque as preparations were being made for the evening (isha) prayer at about 9:35 p.m. A fire extinguisher was used to put out the blaze caused by the explosion. No injuries were reported.
Local fire investigators have been joined on the scene by representatives of the state fire marshal, ATF and FBI. The incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
[NOTE: Mosque officials report that an unknown white man in his 40s entered the same facility during prayer time on April 4 of this year shouting, "Stop this blaspheming." When the person was chased away by worshippers, he reportedly told them, "I will be back."]
"A possible bias-motivated attack on a house of worship should be of great concern to Americans of all faiths, and particularly to our nation's religious and political leaders," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "Those who shape public opinion must begin to speak out against the rising level of anti-Muslim sentiment in our society."
Last week, CAIR called on national Republican leaders to repudiate Islamophobic campaign advertisements for a Florida GOP congressional candidate.
SEE: CAIR Asks GOP to Repudiate Racist, Anti-Muslim Ads
Last month, CAIR reported that a Muslim university professor was appointed to the Jacksonville, Fla., Human Rights Commission despite a prolonged smear campaign by the anti-Islam hate group ACT! for America, whose leader says Muslims should not be allowed to hold public office.
SEE: Muslim Appointed to Fla. Commission Despite Smears
CAIR is urging American Muslim individuals and institutions to review advice on security procedures contained in its "Muslim Community Safety Kit."
SEE: Muslim Community Safety Kit
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.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: [email protected]; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: [email protected]
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations