OHIO ISLAMIC SCHOOL VANDALIZED WITH NAZI, ‘WHITE POWER’ GRAFFITI
(CLEVELAND, OH, 9/20/07) - The Ohio office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) today called on local law enforcement authorities and the FBI to investigate vandalism at an Islamic school in that state as a possible hate crime. CAIR-Ohio also urged opinion leaders in American society to repudiate Islamophobia.
The principal of the Toledo Islamic Academy in Toledo, Ohio, told CAIR that vandals broke two school windows and sprayed-painted Nazi swastikas on doors, windows, trees, and a vehicle at the facility.
“White power” was also sprayed on a vehicle. The vandalism was discovered when the school opened this morning.
“Only strong support from mainstream religious and political leaders in Ohio and nationwide will counter the rising tide of Islamophobic rhetoric in our society that can lead to such disturbing incidents,” said CAIR-Ohio Legal Director Jennifer Nimer.
Nimer said there have been a number of recent incidents targeting American Muslims. Worshipers at a Columbus, Ohio, mosque were attacked with rocks, a shot was fired into a Texas mosque, a Muslim woman in New York was badly beaten in a bias attack, arsonists torched a mosque in Northern California, and an Imam at an Arizona mosque was verbally harassed by intruders on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. In Maryland, vandals slashed the tires of two vehicles owned by a Muslim activist whose family has suffered bias attacks over a number of years.
She urged Muslim individuals and institutions nationwide to review security procedures using advice contained in CAIR’s “Muslim Community Safety Kit.” (See excerpts from the safety kit below.)
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 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.