In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
CAIR ACTION ALERT #370
ILLINOIS MOSQUE ATTACKED AS MUSLIMS PRAY INSIDE
CAIR calls for FBI investigation, increased police protection
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/12/2003) - CAIR today called for an FBI
investigation of an attack last night on a Chicago-area mosque that
occurred while more than 100 Muslims prayed inside.
Police investigators, witnesses and mosque officials told CAIR that
worshipers heard two loud bangs just after the evening prayer at the
Islamic Foundation in Villa Park, Ill., one of the largest mosques and
Islamic schools in America. (SEE: http://www.islamicfoundation.org/)
Witnesses say they found a window of the prayer area damaged by two
projectiles that they took to be bullets. Islamic Foundation Director Abdul
Hameed Dogar called the attack "a deliberate attempt to kill worshipers"
because those praying were clearly visible to the attackers through the
large windows of the mosque.
Villa Park Police Detective John Szkolka told CAIR he does not know
what kind of projectiles hit the mosque window and is following "some
leads" in the case. Szkolka said the attack was "almost certainly" bias-
This was not the first such attack on the mosque. In 1999, vandals
threw a chunk of concrete through a glass door and broke a window.
Other incidents of vandalism occurred while the mosque was under
construction. Following the 9/11 terror attacks, the mosque received a
number of threats.
"We are thankful that no one was hurt in last night's attack. This incident
is just the latest in a series of assaults on and threats against American
Muslims in recent weeks. We believe the increase in Islamophobic hate
crimes is directly related to the drumbeat of pro-war and anti-Muslim
rhetoric in our society. Local law enforcement agencies should offer
increased protection for Muslim communities and their institutions during
this time of crisis," said Omar Haydar, executive director of CAIR's
Chicago office (CAIR-Chicago).
Haydar noted that just this week, death threats were made against
Muslim students at San Jose State University in California. The threats
were just one of several anti-Muslim incidents across the country
reported to CAIR within the past month. Physical assaults against
Muslims have been reported in Northern California, Southern California,
Georgia, New Jersey, and South Carolina. One incident in Yorba Linda,
Calif., left a Muslim teenager badly beaten by a group that allegedly
included white supremacists.
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