Friday, August 17, 2012
From the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice:
ASIAN AMERICAN CENTER FOR ADVANCING JUSTICE CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION AND LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS REGARDING OF SPATE OF VIOLENT ATTACKS ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
WASHINGTON – The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) – Asian American Institute (AAI), Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), Asian Law Caucus (ALC), and Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) – are deeply troubled by the reports of at least nine attacks on Muslim and Sikh houses of worship around the country over the last two weeks. The reported attacks include:
August 4: Vandals fired BB pellets, and threw eggs and oranges at a mosque in Hayward, California; This was the fourth time vandals attacked the Hayward mosque in the last eight months;
August 5: A gunman attacked a Sikh gurdwara and shot and killed six congregants in Oak Creek, Wisconsin;
August 5: A man vandalized a sign in front of a mosque in North Smithfield, Rhode Island;
August 6: A mosque was burned to the ground in Joplin, Missouri; A previous fire a month earlier at the same mosque was caused by arson;
August 7: Two women left three pig legs at the entrances to a mosque in Ontario, California;
August 10: A man shot rifle pellets at a mosque while 500 congregants were praying inside in Morton Grove, Illinois;
August 12: An unknown assailant hurled an acid bomb at an Islamic school while congregants were praying inside in Lombard, Illinois;
August 12: Vandals shot paintballs in the early morning hours at a mosque in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
August 15: A firebomb was thrown at the home of a Muslim family in Panama City, Florida.
While we are encouraged by the general outpouring of support for those affected by the worst of these attacks – the killings of six Sikhs in Oak Creek – that incident cannot be understood in isolation. The hate crimes described above, all of which occurred during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, are the most recent examples of a broad pattern of discrimination, violence and intimidation against Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities that has become prevalent in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Since 9/11, AMEMSA communities have been subject to a climate of intimidation marked by Islamophobic and hostile acts that have unfortunately become increasingly mainstream.
Advancing Justice condemns these attacks and calls on federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to promptly investigate and hold legislative hearings concerning these incidents to ensure justice for the AMEMSA communities. The free exercise of religion is a fundamental American right and is a cornerstone value in this Nation. We stand with the AMEMSA communities and call on all Americans to do the same as we demand religious tolerance and respect for our shared commitment to religious freedom.
CONTACT: Kimberly Goulart