San Antonio, Texas (IINA) - The San Antonio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-San Antonio) called on local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate an allegedly bias-motivated arson in the state as a hate crime.
Police in Mathis, Texas, confirmed to CAIR that an alleged arson attack last Tuesday on a Muslim-owned convenience store might have been bias-motivated. The store owner says he had previously reported threats to burn the business, including alleged statements such as, "You are Muslim, we are going to burn your store." The store was reportedly not insured.
"We believe this disturbing case, like similar incidents targeting American Muslims and other minority groups, is a symptom of the unprecedented spike in Islamophobia nationwide and must be strongly condemned by local and national leaders," said CAIR-San Antonio President Sarwat Husain.
"We urge law enforcement authorities to send a strong message of support for the Texas Muslim community by conducting a speedy investigation and bringing appropriate hate crime charges against the perpetrators," Husain added.
On Saturday, CAIR's Oregon Ad Hoc Committee took part in a candlelight vigil for men killed and injured as they sought to defend a Muslim woman and her friend from an attacker shouting Islamophobic and racist slurs.
CAIR's national headquarters also called on President Trump to speak out personally against rising bigotry and acts of racial violence in America targeting Muslims and other minority groups.
On Monday, he did use his official Twitter account to call the Portland attack "unacceptable."
On Memorial Day, CAIR condemned an allegedly racially-motivated attack on an African-American man in California by a machete-wielding assailant.
CAIR also recently condemned the murder of an African-American Bowie State University student by a suspect who is a member of a white supremacist group on Facebook called "Alt-Reich Nation."
Earlier this month, CAIR released a report showing a 57 percent increase in anti-Muslim incidents in 2016 over the previous year. This spike in anti-Muslim incidents was accompanied by a 44 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes during the same period.
CAIR also released an updated report indicating that the most prevalent trigger of anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2017 has been the victim's ethnicity or national origin.
The Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization urged community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department.
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.
Source: International Islamic News Agency