MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who reportedly bombed a mosque in that state this morning during a prayer service. [NOTE: The Muslim American Society of Minnesota is offering a similar reward.]
CAIR's national office is also urging mosques and Islamic centers nationwide to step up security measures.
Early morning worshipers at Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., were shaken by a blast at 5:05 a.m. that shattered windows in the imam's (Islamic religious leader) office. No one was hurt in the explosion. A worshiper reportedly saw a truck speed out of the mosque's parking lot after the blast.
SEE: Blast Rocks Bloomington Islamic Center
"We hope a reward will help law enforcement authorities quickly apprehend the perpetrator of this act of violence targeting an American house of worship," said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Amir Malik. "If a bias motive is proven, this attack would represent another in a long list of hate incidents targeting Islamic institutions nationwide in recent months."
"The swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrator will send a clear message that attacks on mosques, or on any other American houses of worship, will not be tolerated," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.
Last week, CAIR-MN called on law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, to investigate a possible bias motive for vandalism targeting the Muslim Cemetery Al Magfirah in Castle Rock Township.
The vandals went into buildings on the property and spray-painted profanities, Nazi swastikas and a statement that appears to be "leave, you r dead." They also damaged walls, ceilings, furniture, and equipment on the property.
CAIR Video: Vandals Target Minnesota Muslim Cemetery, Write 'Leave, You R Dead'
Since the beginning of the year, CAIR has called for investigations of possible bias motives for dozens of other incidents targeting mosques in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona, Tennessee, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Texas, and a number of other states. By comparison, in the January-March period in 2016, CAIR recorded 19 such incidents.
CAIR is asking American Muslims and Islamic institutions nationwide to take extra security precautions and is offering Muslim community leaders free copies of its booklet, "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety."
A hard copy of the booklet may be requested through CAIR's website at: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html
It may also be viewed at: http://www.cair.com/images/publications/CAIR_Mosque_Safety_Guide.pdf
CAIR has noted an unprecedented spike in hate incidents targeting Muslims and other minority groups since the November 8 election. A recent CAIR update on anti-Muslim incidents in the second quarter (April-June) of 2017 indicated that the number of hate crimes in the first half of 2017 spiked 91 percent compared to the same period in 2016
SEE: CAIR Report Shows 2017 on Track to Becoming One of Worst Years Ever for Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization recently released a report showing a 57 percent increase in anti-Muslim incidents in 2016 over the previous year. This spike in anti-Muslim incidents was accompanied by a 44 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes during the same period.
SEE: New CAIR Report Shows More than 50 Percent Spike in Anti-Muslim Incidents
CAIR Islamophobia Monitor: Anti-Muslim Bias Incidents 2017 Quarter One Update
In response to the spike in hate crimes, CAIR recently launched an app to share critical "know your rights" information and to simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents. CAIR is urging American Muslims and members of other minority groups to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.
For a quick download of CAIR's civil rights app, click here: http://www.cair.com/app
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.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
CONTACT: CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Amir Malik, 612-701-6364, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, 612-406-0070, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)