December 22, 2010
(SEATTLE, WA, 12/21/10) — The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) today called on the FBI to investigate a possible bias motive for alleged verbal threats and physical intimidation of a Muslim woman in Gresham, Oregon.
CAIR-WA said the threats and intimidation by a neighbor, which reportedly occurred over the past two months, began when the victim converted to Islam and began wearing an Islamic head scarf and appear to be motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment.
The alleged victim reports that the verbal threats made by the neighbor included, “I’m going to kill you, you f***ing b**ch,” “I’m going to shoot your dog and [rape you] while you pray with your head on the ground.” Alleged acts of physical intimidation include shoving the victim against a wall, monitoring her with binoculars and attempting to unlawfully enter her apartment.
Though local law enforcement authorities have aided the victim, she believes police officers have not recognized the seriousness of the threats and the fear with which she reacted. Police dispatchers have begun to transfer 911 calls from the victim’s daughter’s cell phone automatically to non-emergency, despite the fact that an emergency still exists.
CAIR-WA today sent a letter to the FBI asking for an investigation of these incidents as possible hate crimes.
“Immediate action should be taken by local and national law enforcement authorities to send a message that bias-motivated intimidation of American Muslims will not be tolerated,” said CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari.
Bukhari noted that a Muslim woman in Ohio was reportedly pepper-sprayed yesterday in an incident that included the use of racial and religious slurs.
Other recent anti-Muslim incidents in the Pacific Northwest region include an arson attack on an Oregon mosque, a bias attack on an Oregon Muslim inmate and an incident of physical and verbal assault on Muslim women in Seattle.
Mosques in California, Ohio, Tennessee, New York, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona, Louisiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Texas, and Florida have faced vocal opposition or have been similarly targeted by hate incidents in recent months.
American Muslim individuals and institutions are being urged to review advice on security procedures contained in CAIR’s “Muslim Community Safety Kit.”
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.