March 24th, 2011 11:01 EST
Maryland Double Murder Causes Concern in The Local Muslim Community
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that a suspect has been arrested in a Maryland double murder case that caused concern in the local Muslim community about a possible bias motive for the slayings.
Rohan Goodlett, 35, was charged late Wednesday for two recent murders in Olney, Md. One of the victims was an 81-year-old Muslim of Pakistani heritage who was found shot in his home on Friday. The other victim was a 41-year-old native of Sri Lanka who was shot Monday while walking home from work.
SEE: Police Charge Olney Man with Two Counts of First-Degree Murder in Shootings
Members of the Maryland Muslim community had contacted CAIR with concerns that the murders may have been linked to the victims` actual or perceived religion and ethnicity.
CAIR representatives have been in touch with Muslim community leaders and law enforcement authorities about the murders. A police official tonight told CAIR that no motive has been determined in the case and that police do not know whether the shootings were random or the victims were specifically targeted. Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said he could not confirm whether race was a factor in the shootings.
"We applaud the swift and professional action of the Montgomery County Police in taking a suspect into custody," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "We hope this arrest will restore a sense of safety and security in the local community."
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.