Muslim organization blames talk radio in attacks
After attacks on Muslims in New York and California, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations is targeting what he says is “growing anti-Muslim rhetoric” on the Internet and talk radio.
CAIR is seeking federal hate crime charges in the attacks on a mother and daughter in Smithtown, N.Y., and a taxi driver in Pleasanton, Calif.
In the New York incident, which occurred on Aug. 20, a Long Island man has been charged with second-degree aggravated harassment after threatening to kill and attempting to rundown the mother and daughter, each of whom was wearing an abaya, a black robe that covers the head and body.
According to a report in Newsday by former Sun colleague Sumathi Reddy, the mother told police that she had been at a gas station when a man approached from behind and yelled, "Take that stuff off. What do you think it is, Halloween?"
The woman said the man "kept striking a match on a matchbook like if I was to start pumping the gas he would throw the match at me.”
The man said he had done nothing wrong, according to the Newsday report.
"They shouldn't be allowed to wear that around here," he said in a statement to police. "This is not Iraq. They should not be dressing like that here. Send them back to Iraq."
In California, two men have been charged in the beating last week of taxi driver Jaswinder Bangar after he picked them up from a Pleasanton bar, according to a report in the San Jose Mercuary News. Police said the men called Bangar derogatory names as they punched him, breaking a tooth and causing lacerations that required several stitches to close.
In a statement on Monday, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said “Our nation’s religious, political and community leaders need to address the growing anti-Muslim rhetoric on the Internet and on talk radio that can lead to such incidents.”