On the same day that approximately 200 activists held their counter protest in Bayonne, N.J., against a group of residents opposed to plans to build a Muslim Community Center at the site of a vacant warehouse, a Muslim from Bangladesh living in the Bronx was assaulted by two men wearing ski masks who, according to police, shouted, “ISIS, ISIS!”
“The turnout was amazing, way beyond expectations,” stated Sara Flounders, cofounder of the Manhattan-based International Action Center, in an email message to the AmNews. “This response far outnumbered the pitiful handful of bigots and racists who called the protest against the Islamic Center.”
In the meantime, the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on the FBI to join the NYPD investigation of the beating of 43-year-old Mujibar Rahman, who reportedly had to be hospitalized with a black eye and noticeable bruising to his face. Rahman was wearing traditional Muslim attire.
“The FBI should add its resources to the investigation of this disturbing incident in order to send a clear message to bigots that attacks on American Muslims will not be tolerated and that perpetrators of such attacks will face the full weight of the law,” said CAIR-NY Director of Operations Sadyia Khalique in a press release.
CAIR-NY has also called for a hate crime investigation into the December 2015 beating of a Muslim store owner in Queens and threats made against two Muslim sisters by a postal worker.
The Washington, D.C.-based organization, which boasts of being the largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy group in America, argues that the increase in anti-Muslim incidents across the U.S. seem to be hate-motivated as a nationwide campaign targeting persons associated with or perceived to be associated with Islam and the American Muslim community unfolds. CAIR believes the spike in incidents started with the Paris attacks, the San Bernardino shootings and the anti-Muslim rhetoric from Republican candidates for president such as Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson.
Jan. 13, CAIR-Florida reported that an anti-Muslim Facebook post was causing alarm because the user threatened to set fire to local mosques. Also on Jan. 13, someone placed raw bacon on the door handles of the Islamic Center in Omaha, Neb. CAIR called attention to the throwing of a pig’s head at a mosque in Philadelphia; and the desecration of mosques in Kentucky, Nevada and Sacramento, Calif.
“What you see is people who have a dislike or hatred for Islam using an unjustified rationale to fight against mosques and Muslims,” said Student Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad of Harlem’s Mosque No. 7 and the New York spokesman for Minister Louis Farrakhan. Muhammad said the recent political rhetoric could be fueling the increase in incidents.
He explained to the AmNews that the issue of a radicalized element in Islam is real, but there is also radicalization in Judaism and Christianity.
“We in the Nation of Islam are focused on ‘Justice or Else: Redistribute the Pain,’ the theme of the 20th anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March. The boycott is not over,” Muhammad said. “We are dedicated to stopping the wanton killing of our people.”