Mosques vandalised as US states reject Syria refugees

Source: Aljazeera

Suspected hate crimes targeting Muslims carried out as anti-Islam rhetoric swells in the US following Paris attacks.

By Patrick Strickland 

More than 4.2 million Syrians have fled their country as the civil war continues [Santi Palacios/AP]
More than 4.2 million Syrians have fled their country as the civil war continues [Santi Palacios/AP]

Several mosques have been vandalised and a number of suspected hate crimes targeting Muslims carried out after dozens of United States governors announced they would not accept Syrian refugees in their states.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil rights organisation, said on Monday that it has documented recent “vandalism, threats and hate [incidents]” in Massachusetts, Florida, Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, Nebraska, Tennessee, Ohio and New York, among other states.

The wave of incidents follows declarations by at least 27 state governors – 26 from the right-wing Republican party and a Democrat – saying they will block Syrian refugees, citing last Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris, claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

In one incident, officials at the Islamic Centre in Omaha, Nebraska, said that an image of the Eiffel Tower was spray-painted on the wall of a local mosque overnight on Monday, CAIR said.

In Pflugerville, Texas, worshippers arrived at their local mosque on Monday morning to find faeces smeared on the door and a torn-up copy of the Quran on the doorstep.

The Islamic Center of St Petersburg, Florida, received threatening voicemails just hours after news of the Paris attacks broke.

The caller said that they have “a militia that is going to come down to your Islamic Society of Pinellas County and firebomb you and shoot whoever is there in the head”.

According to CAIR, another Florida mosque, the location of which has not been made public, received similar threats. A caller vowed to “bomb” the mosque and “shoot people at will”.

In Portland, Oregon, protesters gathered outside a local and taunted worshippers as they arrived for prayer. They called members of the local Ahmadiyya Muslim community “cowards” and told them they are “going to hell”.

On Tuesday, an Uber driver in Charlotte, North Carolina, said he was punched and threatened with death by a passenger who mistook him as a Muslim, according to local media.

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