FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., March 12, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) today asked local, state and federal fire investigators and law enforcement authorities to probe a mosque fire in Pittsfield Township as a possible act of arson.
The Islamic Center of Ypsilanti burned down late yesterday afternoon in what is being termed a "suspicious" fire. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is on the scene.
SEE: Crews Work to Put Out Fire at Islamic Center of Ypsilanti (WDIV)
ATF Investigating Fire at Mosque Near Ypsilanti
"We urge state and federal agencies to use their full resources to investigate this fire to determine a cause and, if it is determined to be arson, a possible motive," said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid. "Anyone who has information about this fire, or saw anything suspicious at the time of the blaze, should immediately contact law enforcement authorities."
He added that CAIR-MI is offering a $1,000 award for any information given to law enforcement authorities that leads to an arrest and conviction of the perpetrator if the fire is ruled to be arson.
Walid also said that suspicions about the fire are heightened due to anti-Muslim community opposition to an Islamic school in the area. A lawsuit over school was settled late last year.
SEE: Islamic School Settling with Pittsfield Twp. for $1.7M (Detroit News)
On Friday, CAIR's Texas office welcomed an arrest of a man suspected of setting fire to the Islamic Center of Victoria in Victoria, Texas, in January. That suspect is reported to harbor "an apparent hatred of Muslims" and is described as a "right-wing extremist."
SEE: CAIR Welcomes Arrest in Arson Attack on Texas Mosque
CAIR-Texas is also monitoring the investigation of a fire at a mosque under construction in Travis County. Officials now say they may never know the exact source of that fire, even though arson is one of several possible causes.
SEE: CAIR-Austin to Monitor Probe of Fire at Mosque Under Construction, Work with Community Leaders
Travis Co. Mosque Fire Case May Never Be Solved
A soon-to-be-published CAIR report on Islamophobia in America is expected to show that 2016 was the worst year on record for incidents in which mosques were targets of bias.
CAIR-Kentucky: What It Feels Like When a Mosque Is Threatened (New York Times)
CAIR is asking American Muslims and Islamic institutions to take extra security precautions and is offering Muslim community leaders free copies of its booklet, "Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety." The booklet may be requested through CAIR's website: http://www.cair.com/mosque-safety-guide.html
CAIR's national headquarters in Washington, D.C., has noted an unprecedented spike in hate incidents targeting Muslims and other minority groups since the November 8 election.
The Washington-based civil rights and advocacy organization urges community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: http://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html
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.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)