WASHINGTON – A leading American Muslim civil rights advocacy group has called on Muslim communities nationwide to step up security measures for end-of-Ramadan activities following a sharp rise in hate attacks targeting Muslims, particularly women and girls.
“Because of the recent spike in hate incidents – particularly those targeting American Muslim women and girls – and because Islamic religious institutions have been targeted recently in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, we urge local communities to implement increased security measures during end-of-Ramadan activities and through the `Eid Al-Fitr holiday that follows,” Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement sent to AboutIslam.net.
Awad added: “We urge community leaders to immediately request extra police patrols in the area of Ramadan-related activities and to hire security officers authorized to carry firearms to protect events with large numbers of participants, like taraweeh prayers and `Eid Al-Fitr celebrations.”
Yesterday, a van plowed into worshippers outside the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London injuring at least 10 people in what Prime Minister Theresa May called a terrorist attack on Muslims. Witnesses say the suspect shouted: “I want to kill all Muslims.”
A few hour earlier, CAIR offered condolences on the death of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen of Reston, Va., who was murdered after leaving the All Dulles Area Muslim Society mosque in northern Virginia on Sunday.
In May, two men who were stabbed to death as they sought to defend a Muslim train passenger from an attacker shouting Islamophobic and racist slurs.
CAIR also called for a thorough investigation of a possible bias motive in the case.
The fears were shared by Muslim leaders across the US.
“We do feel like we’re becoming more and more targeted by extremists,” Waseem Bawa, the chairperson for the Salam Center mosque in Sacramento, told Fox 40.
“We’re definitely stepping up security and taking precautionary measures at all hours of the day and night,” Bawa said.
Because many mosques hold special prayers and other activities during the final days of Ramadan – which ends this weekend – and during the `Eid Al-Fitr holiday that is celebrated after the end of Ramadan, CAIR is urging American Muslims and Islamic institutions to take extra security precautions in the next week.
Since the beginning of the year, CAIR has called for investigations of possible bias motives for dozens of other incidents targeting mosques in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Kentucky, Georgia, Arizona, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Texas, and a number of other states. By comparison, in the January-March period in 2016, CAIR recorded 19 such incidents.
The Washington-based civil rights group recently 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.