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Reward offered in burning down of Michigan mosque
CAIR-MI Seeks Arson Probe of Mosque Fire, Offers Reward for Info on the burning down of the Ypsilanti Islamic Center Saturday March 11, 2017
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.
“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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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 by clicking here.
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.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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