The Council on American- Islamic Relations (CAIR) said today that racial and ethnic slurs were used during recent attacks on Muslims in Florida and Ohio. CAIR called on the FBI to probe both incidents as possible hate crimes.
In Melbourne, Fla., a Muslim of North African heritage was badly beaten during a robbery Nov. 14 in which a witness told police that one of the assailants shouted “you stupid Arab (expletive)” as he beat the 42-year-old victim. A mosque in that same city was struck by gunfire in September as worshipers prayed inside.
In Ohio, a Muslim woman wearing an Islamic head scarf said she was verbally assaulted on Tuesday by another customer at a Lakewood Walgreens when she used a passport as identification to cash a check.
She told CAIR that the cashier and other customers looked on as the man shouted obscenities, made obscene gestures and shouted “go back home” and “who needs to use a passport for ID in America.”
According to the victim, the man also tried to back his vehicle over her in the parking lot when she attempted to write down his license plate number. The woman, a permanent resident who was born in Saudi Arabia, said she was concerned that no one in the store came to her assistance.
“Unfortunately, these types of incidents are becoming more frequent as the level of anti-Muslim rhetoric in our society grows, while religious and political leaders remain largely silent,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “We call on local and national law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, to investigate both incidents as possible hate crimes.”
Hooper said CAIR’s most recent report on the status of American Muslim civil rights showed an almost 30 percent increase in the total number of complaints of anti-Muslim bias.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.