FBI probes anti-Muslim leaflets at mosque

AP, Oct. 22, 2002

HONOLULU, Hawaii (AP) –Hundreds of leaflets containing threats and disparaging remarks toward Muslims were found in the yard of an Islamic center in Honolulu, authorities said.

The leaflets were thrown into the fenced yard of the mosque of the Muslim Association of Hawaii on Monday morning, said Daniel Dzwilewski, special agent in charge at the FBI’s Honolulu division. He said officials were investigating the act as a hate crime.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington, D.C.-based Islamic civil rights group, said the leaflets included vulgar references about Muslims and warned that patriotic residents of Hawaii will be keeping a watch on them.

“Every curry fund-raiser will be checked to ensure that funds are not being funneled to support terrorist groups,” the council quoted the leaflets as saying. “Anyone found in violation will be strapped with explosives and shipped to Iraq.”

There are about 3,000 Muslims in Hawaii, the council said.

Nihad Awad, the council’s executive director, said comments over the past year by conservative religious leaders are evidence of a rise in anti-Islamic hate speech that contributes to such incidents.

“We believe the small minority of bigots in our society are being encouraged to take such actions by the anti-Muslim rhetoric coming from right-wing and evangelical leaders,” Awad said in a news release.

Dzwilewski said the leaflets were the first such anti-Muslim act in Hawaii.

“We’re looking into it right now,” he said. “We do not tolerate acts of religious discrimination or violence or hate crimes like this.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday October 22, 2002.
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