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CAIR Questions National Silence on Fla. Mosque Bombing
Muslim civil rights group says bomb attack ignored by officials, national media
WASHINGTON - May 14 - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today questioned the silence of public officials and national media about a bomb attack Monday on a Florida mosque.
CAIR, which on Wednesday offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator, said media coverage has for the most part been restricted to Florida and that there have been no public condemnations of the bombing at the national level.
On Monday evening, a bomb exploded outside the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville. Local, state and national law enforcement authorities are investigating the attack as a possible act of domestic terrorism.
"It is disturbing that, outside the state of Florida, our fellow citizens are largely unaware of the fact that a potentially-deadly bomb exploded at an American house of worship," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "One can only imagine the public and media response if someone with a Muslim name was the perpetrator of this apparent terror attack."
He congratulated local, state and national law enforcement agencies for their work on the case, but said he knows of just one national media outlet -- AOL News -- that reported on the bombing.
Awad attributed the attack to a "growing atmosphere of anti-Muslim sentiment" nationwide, and in particular in Florida.
Last week, CAIR called on national Republican leaders to repudiate Islamophobic campaign advertisements for a Florida GOP congressional candidate.
Last month, CAIR reported that a Muslim university professor was appointed to the Jacksonville, Fla., Human Rights Commission despite a prolonged smear campaign by the anti-Islam hate group ACT! for America, whose leader says Muslims should not be allowed to hold public office.
The FBI has been asked to investigate allegations that the same hate group has been harassing members of Florida's Muslim community.
In Miami, anti-Islam advertisements were initially pulled from buses because of community concerns. The ads were later re-instated following threats of legal action by the sponsors, whose leader Pamela Geller has written on her personal blog that "Hitler and the Nazis were inspired by Islam" and that "lies and decption [sic] to advance Islam is a mandate." On her blog, Geller has also referred to President Obama as a "ball s**ker" and posted a photoshopped image of him urinating on an American flag.
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.