SEATTLE, April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) welcomed a federal hate crime indictment brought against a man accused of beating a Sikh taxi driver while shouting anti-Muslim slurs. CAIR-WA also asked federal prosecutors to seek maximum penalties against the alleged perpetrator.
Last October, CAIR-WA called on the FBI to investigate the anti-Muslim hate attack in which the driver was attacked by a man who reportedly shouted anti-Muslim slurs after he commented on the cabbie's turban. A federal grand jury in Seattle returned an indictment against the alleged perpetrator last week.
[NOTE: Sikh men who wear beards and turbans as part of their faith are often targeted by bigots who mistake them for Muslims.]
SEE: Feds indict alleged anti-Muslim bigot on hate crime charge
FBI: Washington Man Indicted on Federal Hate Crime Charge Related to Racially Motivated Assault
The perpetrator reportedly referred to the victim as Iranian and Iraqi, and used several anti-Arab slurs during the attack, which witnesses described as "savage."
Police said the alleged assailant tore out chunks of the man's beard and loosened one of the driver's teeth. According to federal prosecutors, the charge carries a maximum of up to 10 years imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
Police: Anti-Muslim Bigot Beat Sikh Cab Driver
"We ask that federal prosecutors seek the maximum penalties in order to send the message that anti-Muslim violence, or violence targeting any minority group, will not be tolerated in our state or in our nation," said CAIR-WA Civil Rights Coordinator Jennifer Gist. "There has been a troubling spike in hate crimes against Muslim individuals and institutions, as well as those perceived to be associated with the Muslim community, and law enforcement must send a strong message that justice will be served in these cases."
Background on Growing Islamophobia:
CAIR-Texas Asks that Bail Be Revoked for Anti-Muslim Threats
Video: CAIR-TX/ACLU Testify Against Anti-Islam Bill
TX: Sharia Law Bill Unnecessary, Religious Leaders Say
FL: Legislators on Nonsensical Anti-Islamic Crusade Threaten Constitution
NJ Man Pleads Guilty in Hate Crime Assault on Middle Eastern Men
CAIR-Chicago: Islamic Group Sues DuPage County Over Facility
New Documentary: Diving into Islamophobia in America
CAIR has in the past spoken out against bias-motivated attacks on American Sikhs.
Last year, CAIR issued a statement saying American Muslims "stand with their Sikh brothers and sisters" following a deadly shooting attack targeting a house of worship of that faith in Wisconsin.
CAIR: Muslims Stand with Sikhs After Wis. Shootings
In 2011, CAIR offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals who gunned down two elderly Sikh men in Elk Grove, Calif.
SEE: CAIR offers $5,000 reward for California Sikhs shooting information
SEE: Muslim Civil Rights Group Offers Reward for Info on Gunman in Deadly Shooting
CAIR: Muslim Organization Offers Reward
In 2010, CAIR called for an FBI investigation of an attack on a Sikh cab driver in West Sacramento, Calif. The driver said his passengers made anti-Muslim remarks during the attack. Two men were later arrested on charges of felony assault and commission of a hate crime.
CAIR Asks FBI to Probe Attack on Calif. Sikh Mistaken for Muslim
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-WA Civil Rights Coordinator Jennifer Gist, 206-367-4081, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, 206-367-4081, 206-931-3655, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)