Two Teens Busted for Mosque Cross Burning
- TWO TEENS ARRESTED IN MOSQUE CROSS BURNING CASE
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/1/03) - Two teenagers have been arrested for
allegedly burning a cross outside a Maryland Islamic school and
mosque. The arrests were announced this afternoon at a news
conference in Landover Hills, Md., attended by local and national law
enforcement officials and representatives of the Muslim community.
Authorities say the 17-years-olds, whose names are being withheld
because they are juveniles, have been charged with religious and
ethnic crime, defacing property and burning a cross or other
religious symbol in violation of Maryland's hate crime statutes. If
convicted the suspects could face up to three years in prison and a
fine. The cross burning occurred in the early morning hours of July
24th outside the Dar-us-Salaam mosque and Al-Huda school in College
"We will work with juvenile authorities not only to help prosecute
this case, but also to assist in the rehabilitation of these young
people so they may live lives free of hatred and prejudice," said
Seyed Rizwan Mowlana, executive director of the Council on American-
Islamic Relation's Maryland office (CAIR-Maryland). He suggested that
if convicted and sentenced to community service, the teens could be
assigned to a mosque or Islamic school.
"We thank all the law enforcement agencies involved in this case,
particularly the FBI and the Prince George's County police and fire
departments, for moving so swiftly to bring the alleged perpetrators
to justice," said Mowlana. He also thanked the ACLU, Progressive
Maryland, the NAACP, as well as the state and national public
officials who supported the Muslim community following the incident.
At a news conference on the day of the incident, CAIR announced a
$5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of
the perpetrators. At least one lead resulted from that reward offer.
Since the beginning of this year, CAIR has received reports of
physical assaults against Muslims or those perceived to be Muslim in
California, Georgia, New Jersey, South Carolina and other states. One
incident in Yorba Linda, Calif., left a Muslim teenager badly beaten
by a group that allegedly included white supremacists. In Arizona, a
Sikh man who may have been mistaken for an Arab was shot in Phoenix.
In Illinois, an explosive device destroyed a Muslim family's van. And
just last month, a New Bedford, Mass., pizza delivery man was
kidnapped, beaten and stabbed, apparently because his attackers
thought he was Muslim. Two weeks ago, two Pakistani students were
shot to death in the same county as the cross-burning. FBI
investigators are looking into the incident to determine if bias was
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is
headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 16 regional offices
nationwide and in Canada.