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Washington, U.S.A. — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) asked state and federal law enforcement authorities on July 6 to investigate a possible bias motive for vandalism of a South Carolina mosque.
CAIR said that vandals threw a large outdoor, concrete ashtray through a window at the Islamic Center of South Carolina earlier this week, causing $1,200 in damage.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization noted that the incident fits a pattern of recent arson and vandalism targeting American Mosques. CAIR has contacted the local FBI office about the vandalism.
On July 5 CAIR called for a state and federal hate crime investigation of what officials are calling a “suspicious” fire at a Missouri mosque and for a similar probe of hate vandalism targeting a Muslim family in Texas. Several mosque arson cases have been reported nationwide in the last two years. In August 2010 construction equipment for a mosque was burned and destroyed in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Then in April 2011 a Springfield mosque found three copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, burned outside the mosque with a threatening note. Two more arson attacks were reported in May and October of 2011 in Houston, Texas and Wichita, Kansas respectively. Most recently another mosque was bombed in Queens, New York with patrons still inside; none were reported injured.
“Whenever a house of worship is targeted in this manner, state and national law enforcement authorities should consider the possibility of a bias motive,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
Hooper said CAIR is urging Muslim individuals and institutions to review advice on security procedures contained in its “Muslim Community Safety Kit.” The Safety Kit includes tips about how to interact with the community, including contacting community leaders to discuss concerns, and reporting suspicious behavior.
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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