Driver allegedly ran down man he thought was Middle Eastern 'terrorist'
TAMPA, Fla., April 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Tampa) today called on state and federal law enforcement authorities to add hate crime charges to those already brought against a man who allegedly ran down a Clearwater, Fla., road worker he thought was a Middle Eastern "terrorist."
CAIR said Gerald Christopher Prebe, 35, allegedly tried to kill the city employee Thursday afternoon by running him down with his truck. He reportedly told investigators he "thought the worker was a terrorist, possibly of Middle Eastern descent, and wanted to kill him." The alleged attacker was charged with attempted murder and is being held on $100,000 bond.
The 53-year-old African-American victim was hospitalized due to a fractured neck and internal bleeding.
SEE: Was Clearwater Hit-and-Run a Hate Crime?
Police: Clearwater Man Thought City Employee was 'Terrorist'
"Because of the apparent bias motive in this case, state and federal law enforcement authorities should consider adding appropriate hate crime charges," said CAIR-Tampa Communications Director Ramzy Kilic. "We believe these types of incidents are an inevitable result of the growing anti-Muslim sentiment in American society."
Kilic noted that CAIR recently called for a hate crime investigation of two apparently bias-motivated attacks on a Georgia mosque. Vandals twice this month shattered doors and windows of the Islamic Center of Cartersville with rocks, one of which was reportedly painted with "Muslim murderers."
VIDEO: Vandals Target Mosque With Painted Rocks
Earlier, CAIR called on law enforcement authorities to investigate a "terrorist threat" and desecrated religious texts that were used to target a Missouri mosque.
SEE: Islamic Center Reports Threat
CAIR: Missouri Mosque Vandalized with Hate Graffiti
Kilic said American Muslim individuals and institutions are being urged to review advice on security procedures contained in CAIR's "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.
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CONTACT: CAIR-Tampa Communications Director Ramzy Kilic, 813-486-2529, 813-766-2745, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations