Press Release: Police Investigating Vandalism and Possible Hate Crime Against Chicago-Area Mosque
(CHICAGO, IL, 10/10/2008) – The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced today that the Islamic Foundation mosque of Villa Park was vandalized Thursday for the fourth time in less than two months. A mosque employee reportedly discovered two windows that were shattered and a 5-gallon tank of flammable liquid that had been spilled in a part of the mosque's school that is undergoing expansion. Villa Park police are investigating the crime, which appears to be a part of a series of suspected bias-motivated incidents targeting the mosque. Two weeks ago, mosque authorities found a Star of David plastered to the wall. The month before, anti-Islamic messages were spray-painted on the outer walls of the mosque’s school. In another incident, windows to the school were shattered.
Islamic Foundation has been a local landmark since the early 1980s. Despite the recent string of hostile attacks, the mosque enjoys many friends and supporters in the neighboring community where it partakes in interfaith activities on a weekly basis with area churches and synagogues. US Congressman Peter Roskam and past mayors of Villa Park have attended dinners at Islamic Foundation.
"We are very surprised that this is happening to us, we are so involved in the local community and bear no animosity towards anyone," says Abdur-Rahman Khan, the Mosque’s religious and spiritual leader.
"We know in our hearts that the vast majority of our neighbors support us, but this malicious minority is getting bolder and their attacks are intensifying," Khan added.
"We call upon law enforcement to find the vandals and determine whether this is indeed a hate crime. We must all stand against hate and do what we can to bring the perpetrators of this senseless crime to justice," says Christina Abraham, Civil Rights Director of CAIR-Chicago.
Islamic Foundation is at the heart of a thriving, affluent Muslim community in the West suburbs of Chicago. It runs one of the largest Mosques in North America and hosts several thousand worshipers every week. Islamic Foundation School has nearly seven hundred students from kindergarten through twelfth grade.
CAIR is urging Muslims nationwide to review security procedures using advice contained in CAIR's "Muslim Community Safety Kit." SEE: CAIR Muslim Community Safety Kit
In September, CAIR released its annual report on the status of American Muslim civil rights. That report, called "Without Fear of Discrimination," outlined 2,652 incidents and experiences of anti-Muslim violence, discrimination and harassment in 2007. To view the entire report, click HERE.
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CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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.
CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, 312.212.1520 or 202.870.0016; Amina Sharif, Communications Coordinator, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail: email@example.com, 312.212.1520 or 630.935.5562