The Arizona Chapter of the Council on American and Islamic Relations is calling on the FBI to investigate a recent vandalism incident at the Islamic Cultural Center of Phoenix that it believes may be an anti-Islam hate crime.
Imraan Siddiqi, CAIR Arizona’s chairman, says ICCP employees discovered broken windows and light fixtures, along with what appears to be some sort of graffiti at the mosque early Thursday morning.
“It doesn’t look like a rock was thrown, but that a baseball bat or other blunt object was used,” he says.
Phoenix police Officer James Holmes tells New Times in an e-mail that he can only confirm two broken windows, that the PPD has no suspects and that it is investigating the situation as “criminal damage.”
“[Phoenix police] came and took a police report, but we’re going to call on the FBI to do a larger hate investigation,” Siddiqi says. “There has to be a larger investigation that takes place because…there is a larger context to this story.”
The vandalism at the ICCP comes amid what CAIR calls “unprecedented backlash and discrimination” against American Muslims across the country – also last week, a California mosque was fire-bombed and someone set fire to a Muslim-owned business in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
“There have been [at least] 63 incidents of Muslims being targeted in the U.S. this year,” Siddiqi says, referencing an initial report CAIR released on November 24 about the trend.
“[CAIR] has received more reports about acts of Islamophobic discrimination, intimidation, threats, and violence targeting American Muslims (or those perceived to be Muslim) and Islamic institutions in the past week-and-a-half than during any other limited period of time since the 9/11 terror attacks,” the report states.
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“Of particular concern is the extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric and falsehoods being espoused by leading Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson [and by] state governors and lawmakers [who are] playing on public fears and spreading misinformation about the federal government's ability to screen Syrian refugees being resettled into the United States.”
“If windows get shattered, sure it could just be neighborhood kids, but there have been two armed protests at this mosque this year,” Siddiqi says. “You can’t take away the context of all the stuff that’s happened around the mosque during these last few months.”