August 28th, 2009 09:55 EST
Hate Attack on NY Muslim Mom, Daughter
A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group is calling for federal civil rights charges against a man arrested today for threatening to kill a Muslim mother and her daughter and trying to run them down with his car in a Smithtown, N.Y., gas station parking lot.
The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reports that Joseph Ballance, 23, was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment as a hate crime, only a misdemeanor, after being arrested at his home Thursday morning. Both alleged victims were dressed in Islamic attire.
According to police, the alleged attacker reportedly shouted anti-Muslim slurs, spit on the victims` car and threatened to kill them because of their religion.
SEE: Cops: Man Tried to Run Down Muslim Mom, Daughter (Newsday)
We urge the FBI to join the investigation of this troubling incident to determine what federal civil rights charges might be brought against the alleged perpetrator, " said Aliya Latif, civil rights director of CAIR`s New York chapter. These serious allegations deserve more than a misdemeanor charge. "
She noted that CAIR reported over the past weekend that anti-Iranian graffiti was scrawled inside a Muslim-owned store in Philadelphia ransacked by vandals.
SEE: Vandalism at Penn. Business Probed as Hate Crime
SEE ALSO: Philadelphia Muslim Store Target of Apparent Hate Crime
Latif urged American Muslim individuals and institutions to review advice on security procedures contained in its "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.
CONTACT: CAIR-NY Civil Rights Director Aliya Latif, 212-870-2002, 732-429-4268, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-NY Community Affairs Director Faiza N. Ali, 212-870-2002, 718-724-3041, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina
Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail: email@example.com