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Hate Crimes Against Muslims On The Rise

Imagine how painful it would be to one morning see hate comments scribbled on your father’s grave.

On August 16, a Palestinian American was visiting his father’s grave at Evergreen Cemetery, only to find racist comments, such as “Mohamad is a liar,” written on a number of tombstones. Evergreen Cemetery in Evergreen Park houses at least 500 deceased Muslims.

The vandalized Muslim tombstones are just one of the dozens of hate crime incidents that have occurred in the month of August against Muslim Americans, leading Muslim communities to question their safety.

Joplin, Missouri: A mosque was burned to the ground on August 6 after a burning object was hurled at the mosque’s roof. This wasn’t the first time an attack on Joplin’s only Islamic Center. The first attack occurred about a month ago, when a burning object was thrown on the Islamic Society of Joplin’s roof, setting a small area ablaze. No charges have been issued, and the FBI have a $15,000 reward for information on the perpetrator.

“It’s unbelievable,” Omar Ahmed, a congregant, said to the Joplin Globe. “It’s a house of worship. It’s a place of God.”

Ontario, California: Two women in a white pick-up truck were seen throwing pig legs at a proposed construction site for the Al-Nur Islamic Center in Southern California. Pork is prohibited in Islam and for pig parts to be discarded at a mosque site is considered an insult, especially during the month of Ramadan. Two dozen Muslims were praying inside a home where the incident occurred.

Munira Syeda of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told CBS Los Anglelos, “Whoever the perpetrator is they clearly wanted to send a message that was full of bigotry and hate toward the Muslim community.”

Morton Grove, IL: On August 10, air rifle shots were fired at the Muslim Education Center, an Islamic mosque, while people inside were praying. David Conrad, 51, was charged with “three counts of aggravated discharge of a firearm, a class X felony, and one count of criminal damage to property, a class 4 felony,” according to CBS Chicago.

Lombard, IL: A 7-Up bottle filled with acid was hurled at an Islamic school, the College Preparatory School of America (CPSA), on August 12, just two days after the rifle shooting. Ramadan prayers were occurring inside CPSA at the time of the attack and no injuries were reported.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: On early Sunday, August 12, paintballs were fired at the door of the Grand Mosque in Oklahoma City. The occupants inside the mosque assumed bullets were being fired.

Adam Soltani, the Executive Director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR was quoted saying that the growth hate crimes and attacks against Muslims should concern national religious and political leaders “who have an important role to play in challenging the rising level of anti-Muslim rhetoric in our society, and particularly Islamophobic rhetoric coming from the right-wing of the political spectrum.”

The paintball attack was captured on local surveillance, and no charges have been made so far.

Due to the rise in attacks against Muslims, Illinois Congressman, Joe Walsh, held a town meeting on August 8 in Elk Grove, a suburb of Chicago.

“I’m not sure of a lot of things, but one thing I am sure of is that there are people in this country, there is a radical strain of Islam in this country – it’s not just over there – trying to kill Americans every week,” Walsh said.

Sonia Hassan, an Egyptian American and an Elk Grove resident, was infuriated from Walsh’s comments. According to Al Jazeera, Hassan said, “I wish I had been there [at the meeting]. I would’ve stood up and said: ‘You are saying stuff that can affect my family and my community in a negative way.'”

With the occurrence of these recent attacks, we should stay clear of ignorance and remember to help one another as a society.

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