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CAIR-MN Seeks Federal Hate Crime Probe of St. Cloud Mosque Vandalism
(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 12/4/14) -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called on federal law enforcement authorities to investigate vandalism targeting two St. Cloud, Minn., mosques as possible hate crimes.
Muslim leaders in St. Cloud report that vandalism was discovered Wednesday at the Central Minnesota Islamic Center. It was the third time windows were damaged in recent weeks. The windows of vehicles are also reportedly being smashed as worshipers attend morning prayers.
Worshippers at another local mosque, the Islamic Center of St. Cloud, also reported damage to vehicles.
SEE: Damage Found at Islamic Faith Centers in St. Cloud
“Law enforcement officials must send a strong message that hate against any place of worship is unacceptable and that possibly bias-motivated crimes will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya.
Last month, CAIR-MN sought a similar investigation of anti-Islam vandalism apparently targeting Muslims in a St. Paul neighborhood.
Neighbors contacted CAIR-MN to report that someone wrote “F*** Islam” using motor oil near the driveway of a home. They said several Muslim families live in the St. Paul neighborhood
At that time, Saroya urged community leaders to implement safety measures outlined in CAIR’s booklet, "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety," which was published in response to previous attacks on American mosques.
CAIR-MN Welcomes Resignation of GOP Official Who Made Anti-Muslim Comments
(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 11/28/14) -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today welcomed the resignation of Big Stone County GOP Chair Jack Whitley who posted comments on his Facebook page calling Muslims "parasites" and advocating "frag em" in Mecca. ("Frag" refers to a fragmentation grenade, a type of hand grenade. Whitley has since taken down his Facebook page.)
Whitley, who was also fired from his hardware store job, told the Associated Press that he was asked to resign by other Republicans. His resignation is effective today. He would not say whether he still believes the derogatory comments he wrote about Muslims.
SEE: County GOP Official Resigns After Anti-Muslim Remarks (AP)
"We welcome Mr. Whitley’s resignation and hope he accepts the offer to meet with members of the Minnesota Muslim community and to learn more about Islam," said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya. “It has been our experience that learning about Islam and interacting with ordinary American Muslims helps decrease prejudice and stereotyping.”
CAIR-MN had previously invited Whitley to meet with Minnesota Muslims to engage in dialogue and to promote mutual understanding.
Earlier this week, CAIR-MN expressed appreciation for the outpouring of support from political leaders and ordinary Minnesotans who joined that state's Muslim community in repudiating Whitley’s Islamophobic comments.
SEE: CAIR-MN Welcomes 'Outpouring of Support' Following GOP Chair's Anti-Muslim Comments
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.
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CAIR-MN Welcomes ‘Outpouring of Support’ Following GOP Chair’s Anti-Muslim Comments
(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 11/26/14) -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today welcomed the “outpouring of support” from those who joined the state’s Muslim community in repudiating Islamophobic comments by Big Stone County GOP Chair Jack Whitley.
Last week, Whitley posted comments on his Facebook page calling Muslims “parasites” and advocating “frag em” in Mecca. (“Frag” refers to a fragmentation grenade, a type of hand grenade. Whitley has since taken down his Facebook page.)
CAIR-MN called on Republican Party leaders to repudiate Whitley’s comments.
SEE: CAIR-MN Asks GOP to Repudiate County Chair's Anti-Muslim Remarks
The chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, Keith Downey, publicly condemned Whitley’s comments. In an email to CAIR-MN, he wrote:
“I condemn the outrageous comments posted on Mr. Whitley's Facebook page. They could not be further from the Republican Party's beliefs, nor more contrary to the efforts we have undertaken to include Muslim Americans, and every American, in our Party.”