Ohio mosque vandalism prompts call for police protection
The Islamic Foundation of Central Ohio (IFCO) and the Ohio Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) today called on law enforcement authorities in that state to step up protection of Muslim institutions and businesses following an attack by vandals on the Islamic Center of Columbus.
The vandals caused severe damage overnight to all three floors of the center. Copies of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, were shredded.Water pipes were ripped out of walls and broken in a way that would cause maximum damage to the center.
CAIR-Ohio has recorded several incidents of anti-Muslim harassment, threats, discrimination, and violence over the past three months.
"Muslims has received many messages of support from people of other faiths who abhor the anti-Islamic backlash that is now taking place. Unfortunately, the bigoted acts of a small minority are creating an
atmosphere of apprehension and fear in the American Muslim community," said CAIR-Ohio Executive Director Jad Humeidan. Humeidan called on elected officials to reiterate their statements rejecting anti-Muslim hysteria and discrimination.
“This attack is not against a mosque, it's an attack against all religions, against our liberties and against our values,” said IFCO President Mohammed Shareef.
IFCO is offering $1,000 reward for any leads that result in the capture and prosecution of the perpetrators.
The attack was not the first against Ohio religious institutions. Immediately after the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Greater Cleveland Islamic Center was attacked by a drunk driver who smashed his car through a wall, knocked over three pillars and landed on top of a fountain in the mosque rotunda. A drive by shooting also occurred at the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo.
CAIR-Ohio is calling on Muslims and people of other faiths to help repair the damage done to the mosque.
CONTACT: Tel: 614-451-3232 E-Mail: [email protected]
1) Please Call the Islamic Center of Columbus and offer your support, Tel: 614-253-3251
2) Send you donations to:
Muslim secret service agent removed from flight
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group, today demanded an apology from American Airlines for removing a Muslim Secret Service agent from a flight apparently based on religious and ethnic profiling.
The agent (for security reasons, CAIR is not releasing his name) alleges that he was kicked off American Airlines Flight 363 from Baltimore to Dallas on December 25 because the captain had concerns about his identity, even though the agent went through the proper procedures for armed security personnel who are passengers. The agent's identification was subsequently checked several times by American personnel and by local police. He even offered to have the Secret Service confirm his identity.
When the agent asked to go back on the plane to retrieve his jacket, the captain said: "I don't want him back on that plane." A code denying the agent access to other flights was also allegedly entered into American's computer system.
In a letter faxed today to American Chairman Donald J. Carty, CAIR wrote: "We are concerned that American Airlines would arbitrarily deny boarding to a Muslim passenger, particularly someone who has one of our nation's highest security clearances, merely because of his religion or ethnicity. The passengers on Flight 363 would actually have been more secure had Agent ----- been allowed to board."
"All Americans are concerned about improving safety for the traveling public, but religious and ethnic profiling is not the way to make flying more secure," said CAIR Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. Hooper suggested instead that all passengers be subjected to heightened security checks, that new security screening technologies be funded and implemented and that airlines adopt strict baggage matching procedures.
CAIR asked that American Airlines clarify its policy on racial and religious profiling so that a similar incident does not occur in the future. The group's civil rights department has received more than 160 reports of airport profiling of Muslims or those who are perceived to be "Middle Eastern" since the terrorist attacks of September 11.
CAIR: Foiled bombings incited by anti-Muslim "Smear Campaign"
A prominent American Muslim group tonight blamed what it called the "ongoing anti-Islamic smear campaign" by right wing and pro-Israel extremists for creating an atmosphere of Islamophobia that may have incited the Jewish Defense League (JDL) to plot a terrorist bombing at a California mosque and other sites. (SEE: www.jdl.org)
JDL chairman Irv Rubin and another member of that group were arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of plotting to blow up the King Fahd Mosque in Culver City and the offices of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council. Rubin was arrested after the last bomb-making components were allegedly delivered to his co-conspirator's home. Other bomb components were seized at the home. In court documents, authorities quoted one of those involved in the plot as saying that Arabs "need a wake-up call."
"Since the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, a number of extremist conservative and pro-Israel groups and individuals, apparently alarmed at the growing prominence of American Muslims, orchestrated an
ongoing anti-Islamic smear campaign seeking to marginalize the our community and its leadership," said Omar Ahmad, board chairman of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
"Words do have an impact, particularly on those who already hold deep-seated hostility toward Islam and Muslims. For the safety of our community, this malicious campaign must stop," said Ahmad.
"We extend thanks to the FBI for preventing a domestic terrorist attack. We call on President Bush to condemn all those who may have been involved in the plot. We request that law enforcement authorities offer added protection for mosques nationwide and investigate the possibility that other JDL terrorist cells may exist. And finally, we ask that commentators not link Judaism or the Bible to terrorism as many have done with Islam and the Quran," said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
Awad also offered support for Rep. Issa, an Arab-American lawmaker who has come under vicious attack by some of the same commentators who vilify Muslims.
In three incidents within the last month, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) sought unsuccessfully to have Muslim speakers barred for public events designed to promote intercultural understanding. CAIR has received many reports of similar behind-the-scenes
efforts.* (See note below.)
The smear campaign recently went public when the Los Angeles Times wrote: "Pro-Israel or Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Defense League and the Middle East Forum think tank have provided news organizations with reams of critical documentation on Muslim leaders
in recent weeks." (Los Angeles Times, 11/3/2001) A Washington Post reporter wrote on November 18 that, "Jewish groups and some conservatives have been lobbying the president to stop courting
certain Muslim leaders."
CAIR also cited several recent articles by the Middle East Forum's Daniel Pipes in which he made the bizarre claim that American Muslims seek to impose Islamic law in the United States.
* NOTE: In 1999, the ADL agreed to pay $25,000 to a community relations fund that resolved a class-action lawsuit filed in 1993 accusing the ADL of spying on Arab-American, pro-Palestinian and anti-apartheid groups and individuals. (AP, Sept. 28, 1999)
Other Jewish groups protested the ADL leadership's 1990 attendance at the funeral of anti-Arab extremist Meir Kahane, whose group is now listed as a terrorist organization by the State Department. (Tikkun, July 1, 1994) Kahane founded the JDL in the 1960s. An off-shoot of Kahane's group continues to raise funds in the United States. (SEE: www.kahane.org) The FBI raided offices associated with that group in January.