February 10th, 2008 01:58 EST
Islamic Center Burned, Defaced in Tennessee
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) yesterday called on the FBI and Tennessee law enforcement authorities to investigate a fire and hate graffiti at a mosque in that state as a possible bias-motivated crime.
An official of the Islamic Center of Columbia told CAIR that the fire was discovered Saturday morning and "pretty much destroyed" the mosque. Several Nazi swastikas and the phrases "white power" and "we run the world" were sprayed on the outside walls of the mosque. The center had been clearly identified as a mosque. Local, state and federal investigators are at the scene.
The Islamic Center of Columbia is located about 45 minutes south of Nashville, Tenn.
"We urge the FBI to add its resources to those of local and state authorities in this investigation," CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "Whenever there is hate graffiti of this type, the possibility of a bias motive should be explored."
Because of similar incidents nationwide, the Washington-based civil rights and advocacy group is urging Muslim individuals and institutions to review security procedures using advice contained in the "CAIR Muslim Community Safety Kit."
SEE: CAIR Muslim Community Safety Kit
CAIR, America`s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.