FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Seeks Bias Probe of Calif. Mosque Vandalism
Rocks thrown through mosque window as worshippers prayed
(SACRAMENTO, CA, 3/24/12) –- The Sacramento Valley office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV) today called on the FBI and local law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for vandalism targeting a West Sacramento mosque.
Vandals reportedly threw three rocks through a window of the almost-completed Masjid Aisha (formerly the West Sacramento Islamic Community Center) last night as two worshippers prayed inside.
"Whenever a house of worship is targeted in this manner, the possibility of a bias motive must be considered," said CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra.
In 2009, vandals broke into the back door of the previous mosque on the site and damaged religious wall hangings and a bookshelf that held Qurans. The vandals also stole items from the mosque.
CAIR: Sacramento Mosque Vandalized
CAIR Video: Sacramento Mosque Vandalized
Earlier this year, a man was sentenced in federal court for vandalizing a Madera, Calif., mosque in 2010. He placed a sign in front of the mosque that read "No temple for the god of terrorism at ground zero." The man also threw a brick at the front of the mosque and damaged its facade.
Last year, CAIR-SV offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals who gunned down two elderly Sikh men in Elk Grove, Calif. Sikh men wearing religious turbans are often mistaken for Muslims.
CAIR recently called on law enforcement authorities to investigate a bias motive for similar vandalism targeting a mosque under construction in Virginia.
Video: Vandals Cause $60K in Damage to Virginia Mosque (CAIR)
According to a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, "The number of anti-Muslim groups tripled in 2011, jumping from 10 groups in 2010 to 30 last year."
SPLC: Anti-Muslims Groups
A number of recent reports have documented the growth and promotion of Islamophobia nationwide.
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.
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CONTACT: CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra, 916-289-3748, E-Mail:firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:email@example.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org