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ABC 7: Gravestone defaced with anti-Islam graffiti

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news%2Flocal&id=8777249

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August 17, 2012 (EVERGREEN PARK, Ill.) (WLS) — A gravestone at a south suburban cemetery has been defaced with spray painting of anti-Islam graffiti.

A local Muslim group says that the vandalism is the latest act of hate toward Muslims, but Evergreen Park Police say they are continuing to investigate, saying the incident involves just one grave stone out of roughly 500 in this particular cemetery.

They also say that this gravestone has been defaced at least six times in the last 16 months. The desecration was discovered by a suburban man when he came to visit the grave of his father.

The man said that he noted there was at that-Islamic graffiti spray-painted on the headstone of his father’s grave.

Police say the graffiti also includes some gang signs. The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says they are seeing a spike in anti-Islamic sentiment.

“What we’ve seen is a trend during election times where there’s this rise in anti-Muslim sentiment, there’s this Islamophobic rhetoric that gets spewed out by various public figures and public officials, and we feel that contributes to these acts of violence,” said CAIR’s Aymen Abdel Halim. “We need our public officials to stand up against it. We need them to come out and say these acts are not okay. Sure, there might be some issues that we need to address, however, an entire community, 1.5 billion people, are not to account for any crimes whatsoever of a few.”

The group hopes to get the Cook County Sheriff as well as the FBI and Illinois Attorney General involved.

Evergreen Park Police are still investigating. The cemetery officials have not made any comment either and are currently in the process of cleaning the headstone.

In the meantime, CAIR says that it plans to hold a protest rally this evening at 5 p.m. Friday at the corner of Michigan and Congress, not only to protest this ongoing hate toward Muslims, but also what they say is to bring people together.

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