California beating victim told 'Go back to Iraq'

CAIR asks for FBI probe, offers reward for information

by OfficialWire NewsDesk

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- (OfficialWire) -- 11/06/04 -- A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today asked the FBI to investigate an attack on a California man during which the alleged assailants shouted "go back to Iraq."

The Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) said the victim, a man of Portuguese descent, told police he was beaten late Wednesday by five white men who apparently mistook him for an Arab. As they left the scene of the attack, the alleged perpetrators said they would return to kill the victim. CAIR-LA is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the assailants.

"These types of incidents do not occur in a vacuum," said CAIR-LA Communications Director Sabiha Khan. "We need all people of conscience to speak out against the anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric that can prompt such attacks."

Khan said CAIR recently released the results of a survey indicating that 1-in-4 Americans holds anti-Muslim views; "Islam and Muslims: A Poll of American Public Opinion".

Last month, CAIR called on law enforcement authorities nationwide to step up police protection at American mosques during the Muslim fast of Ramadan.

That request came following a series of incidents targeting Islamic institutions in the Midwest.

In Fargo, N.D., vandals smeared feces on a mosque. In the neighboring state of Minnesota, two Islamic centers were also vandalized. Other incidents of vandalism targeting Islamic institutions and attacks on individuals have also taken place nationwide.

In Texas, firebombs were thrown at an El Paso mosque. In Washington, D.C., a Muslim prayer area at American University was vandalized. At the end of August, a Muslim in Tucson, Ariz., reported that his family's car was vandalized and a racist note was taped to the vehicle. A New York Muslim reported finding his car window smashed with a brick. In Virginia, a Muslim reported two separate incidents of vandalism to a car. And in New Jersey, a Muslim found his car's windshield smashed in his driveway.

Also in New Jersey, a Muslim driver reported being attacked by a white male in another car who punched him in the face while he was sitting in his car at a traffic light. During the incident, the attacker reportedly called the victim a "terrorist" and a "sand n*gger."

In July, two Muslims in Buffalo, N.Y., say they were targeted by white teenagers who shouted ethnic slurs and then tried to hit the girls with their car. A Muslim woman driver in Illinois and a Muslim shopper in California were assaulted at the end of June by attackers shouting anti-Muslim and racist slurs.

Earlier this year in Florida, vandals wrote "Kill all Muslims" inside the Islamic Community Center in the Tampa suburb of Lutz. The FBI is also investigating vandalism and threatening messages targeting the Islamic Community of Southwest Florida in Charlotte Harbor. In Missouri, vandals painted a Nazi swastika and the word "die" on an addition under construction at the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis. Three Miami Islamic centers were vandalized.

In Texas, a man was arrested for threatening an El Paso Islamic center, an arson suspect was arrested at the scene of a fire at a Muslim business in San Antonio and vandals scrawled racist graffiti on the interior of a Lubbock mosque. A home-made bomb exploded in the mailbox of a Houston Islamic center.

As a response to these and other anti-Muslim incidents, CAIR published a "Muslim Community Safety Kit." The safety kit may be obtained free of charge by emailing (Include name, address and phone number when requesting the safety kit.)

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 29 regional offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada.

Posted 11/06/2004 12:50 AM

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