January 18th, 2010 14:12 EST
Hate Crime Probe of Vandalism at Tenn. Mosque
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on local, state and national law enforcement agencies to investigate an apparently bias-motivated act of vandalism at the site of a proposed Tennessee mosque as a hate crime.
Over the weekend, a sign marking the future site of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was spray-painted with the words "not welcome."
SEE: Islamic Center Sign Vandalized (Daily News Journal)
"As our nation celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we must come together in a spirit of mutual respect and tolerance, not of hatred or division," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "This apparent attempt to divide our nation along religious lines should be investigated as a hate crime and must be repudiated by all those who respect the principle of religious diversity."
He noted a Tennessee man was sentenced last November to more than 14 years in prison for burning down the Islamic Center of Columbia, Tenn. Nazi swastikas and the phrase "White Power" were painted on the mosque`s walls.
Awad said CAIR recently called on President Obama to address what the Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group called an "alarming level of anti-Islam hate in our nation."
SEE: CAIR Asks President to Address Rise in Anti-Islam Hate
CAIR`s letter to President Obama cited a number of recent anti-Muslim incidents, including a spate of vandalism cases at mosques nationwide. Since that letter was sent, CAIR reported two incidents of anti-Islam hate targeting the California Muslim community.
SEE: Police Consider Torched Quran a Hate Crime (OC Register)
Awad said American Muslims are concerned about the rise in anti-Islam sentiment and profiling in the wake of the Fort Hood shooting and the Christmas Day attempted bombing of a plane over Detroit, Mich.
SEE: Flying While Arab?
Another Hijab-Wearing Muslim Traveler Reports Mistreatment
Video: Muslim Profiling at Airports? (CNN)
Last week, CAIR urged American Muslims to help fund repairs to Malaysian churches damaged by vandals.
SEE: U.S. Muslims Asked to Help Repair Malaysian Churches
CAIR is urging American Muslim individuals and institutions to review advice on security procedures contained in its "Muslim Community Safety Kit."
SEE: 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.