- In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
ANTI-MUSLIM INCIDENTS IN CALIFORNIA, MICHIGAN AND ILLINOIS
Women verbally assaulted, father and son refused service, mosque
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/20/2003) - A prominent national Islamic civil
rights group announced today that several anti-Muslim incidents have
been reported recently in California, Michigan and Illinois. The
Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
attributes these incidents to the pro-war rhetoric leading up to last
night's attack on Iraq and called on President Bush to once again
speak to the issue of anti-Muslim bias.
In California, four Muslim women from the northern part of that state
visiting a Venice restaurant on Sunday say they were verbally
assaulted by another patron who made references to raping Muslim
women and threatened them with physical assault.
The women, all wearing Islamic head scarves, say a white male began
playing a guitar and singing after they entered the restaurant. His
song allegedly contained lyrics such as: "Those goddamn Muslim
terrorists attack our country....They wear ugly robes that are so
stinky...And they rape their women all the time...but since their
women like it, they don't need to get it over there, we can give it
to them here."
After the Muslim women reported the man's actions to the restaurant
manager, he became even more upset and threatened the women with
physical harm. The man was later arrested by the Los Angeles Police
Department. CAIR and the women's civil rights attorney are calling on
local law enforcement and the FBI to treat the incident as a hate
crime and to prosecute the alleged perpetrator to the full extent of
In Michigan, a Muslim father and son report that they were refused
service at a Meijer store in Fraser, Mich. The store's cashier
allegedly refused to accept credit card payment for gas, saying, "We
don't take credit cards We closed the machines," and shouted, "You
Arabs get out of here We don't want to serve you guys Go back to your
country Dirty Arabs." Another customer also joined in the abuse. The
victims' attorney is considering a lawsuit against Meijer. (There is
a surveillance camera videotape of the incident.)
In Illinois, a Glendale Heights Islamic center received a phoned bomb
threat Tuesday and was burglarized Saturday. The center has called
for increased police protection and is in the process of installing
security cameras and window grills. Local FBI agents are working with
the center on the case.
"There should be zero tolerance for anti-Muslim bigotry in our
society. We urge swift apprehension and vigorous prosecution of
anyone who targets other Americans base on their religion, ethnicity
or national origin. At this time of crisis, our nation should be
unified in standing against the forces of division," said CAIR
Executive Director Nihad Awad. Awad noted that his group recently
distributed a "Community Safety Kit" to help protect Muslims in North
America. SEE: http://www.cair-net.org/safetykit He also called on
President Bush to once again condemn anti-Muslim hate.
Awad noted that just last week, projectiles were fired at another
Chicago-area mosque and death threats were made against Muslim
students at San Jose State University in California. Other anti-
Muslim incidents were 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.
CAIR is America's largest Islamic civil liberties group. It is
headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 16 regional offices
nationwide and in Canada. Since its founding in 1994, CAIR has
defended the civil and religious rights of all Americans.
- END -
CONTACT: CAIR-N. California, Helal Omeira, 408-476-7843; CAIR-LA, 714-
776-1847; Banafsheh Akhlaghi, attorney in Venice case, 415-553-7100;
CAIR-Michigan, Haaris Ahmad, 248-569-2203; Majed Moughni, attorney in
Michigan case, 313-581-0800; CAIR-Chicago, Omar Haydar, 312-922-4720,
312-735-3662; CAIR-National, Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-
7726, E-MAIL: cair@...; Ms. Hodan Hassan, 202-488-8787 or
202-439-1441, E-MAIL: hhassan@...
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