The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Muslims ‘Under Attack,’ Says Toledo Mosque Official After Arson

By Bill Morlin on October 4, 2012 - 2:11 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Hate Crime

Muslims and their places of worship “are clearly under attack,” says the president of one of the country’s largest mosques, which was heavily damaged four days ago in an arson fire.

“We’re actually reeling in disbelief,” Dr. Mahjabeen Islam, president of the Islamic Center of Toledo in Ohio, told Hatewatch today in describing the devastation caused by a fire deliberately set in the mosque’s prayer area on Sunday afternoon, just minutes after worshippers had left the building.

“This is a hate crime and it’s very significant it was started in the center of the prayer area, right under the dome,” said Islam. The mosque she heads is the third largest in the United States, a 70,000-square foot landmark, visible for miles, with 3,000 members who will celebrate the center’s 32nd anniversary on Friday.

The fire and water damage from sprinklers touched every room in the Islamic Center, causing an estimated $1 million to $1.5 million in damages. Repairs will take an estimated six months.

A suspect in the arson, whose image was captured on surveillance cameras, was arrested Tuesday in neighboring Indiana. On Wednesday, Randy T. Linn, a 52-year-old truck driver from St. Joe, Ind., was charged in Perrysburg, Ohio, Municipal Court with two counts of aggravated arson, aggravated burglary, and carrying a concealed weapon, the Toledo Blade reported in today’s editions.

“It was a very symbolic fire, we believe, in that it was started in the center of the prayer area right under the dome,” Islam said.

In August, during Ramadan, an anonymous, threatening letter was sent to the mosque with the word “stopped” written in Arabic.

“Never in our wildest dreams did we believe something like this would happen to us,” Islam said. “We are clearly under attack. If our mosque had not been made of brick and concrete, it would have burned to the ground.”

The fire also damaged and shut down classrooms of the Islamic School of Greater Toledo, a K-5 elementary school at the center. Those children are now attending classes at a nearby community college.

The FBI is investigating the arson, and federal hate crime charges may be forthcoming, Hatewatch has learned.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, says the arson is the latest in a notable spike in anti-Islamic hate crimes. CAIR released a report last month detailing the increase in attacks against Muslims and mosques.

During Ramadan, which started on July 20 and ended at sundown on Aug. 18, there was “one of the worst spikes of anti-Muslim incidents in over a decade,” the CAIR report says.

In the first seven months of this year, there were 10 incidents in which Muslim places of worship were targeted. During 13 days in August, Muslim places of worship were targeted eight more times, the CAIR report said.

“We do feel this is part of an overall trend of attacks on mosques and not an isolated incident,” Julia Shearson, CAIR’s director for Northern Ohio, told Hatewatch.

“We believe there a climate that’s been created in the political sphere and the far-right media blogosphere that gives a green light to extremists to act out and commit hate crimes against religious institutions and their members,” she said.

“I don’t think we’ve seen this kind of intolerance toward religious minorities since before the civil rights movement.”

The CAIR official said civic and political leaders should consider convening a national summit on religious intolerance. “For some reason, it’s really been allowed to fester,” she said.

The growing list of anti-Islamic crimes includes the unsolved arson fire of another mosque in Joplin, Mo., that burned to the ground on Aug. 6. In Illinois, shots were fired at a mosque in Morton Grove, and an acid bomb was thrown at an Islamic school in Lombard. In Oklahoma, vandals fired paint balls at a mosque. In California, pigs’ legs were thrown at a mosque. In Panama City, Fla., a firebomb damaged a Muslim family’s home.

Sometimes, it appears, hate crimes have been directed at victims the perpetrators may have mistakenly believed were Muslims, when in fact they were members of another religious faith.

On Aug. 5, six members of a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee were gunned down by neo-Nazi skinhead Wade Michael Page, who belonged to a racist white power band.

Also during this year’s Ramadan, an Arab Christian church in Detroit was vandalized.

  • aadila

    Rey my guess is “Ishmael” is part of an Islamophobic group who is using the name for ironic purposes, and attempting to smear CAIR.

    There really is no reason (in my opinion at least) to discredit CAIR after all of this. It looks to me like they got rid of the bad apples and the fact that no governmental authorities chose to prosecute is a pretty clear sign that there is nothing more to it.

  • Reynardine

    I doubt he is writing us hysterical garbage from the clink. Another committee member?

  • aadila

    Randall Royer is serving 20 years. He was formerly a civil rights coordinator for CAIR. An American convert to Islam, he also goes by “Ismael”.

  • Reynardine

    Randall Royer, huh?

  • aadila

    I’ve looked into Ishmael Royer’s comments about CAIR.

    Quite a few individuals linked to CAIR have been indicted and convicted of terrorism-related activities, and federal courts upheld those convictions: Ghassan Elashi, Nihad Awad, Omar Ahmad, Bassem Khafagi, Abdurahman Alamoudi, Mousa Abu Marzook, and Randall Royer. This is certainly worth remembering.

    But I also think it would be going too far to paint all of CAIR with the same brush. There is a big difference between being named as an unindicted co-conspirator, and being indicted, mainly because the latter requires proof and the former doesn’t.

    The argument has been made, and I see no reason to doubt it, that CAIR was named in this capacity as a means to an end, i.e. to cover all legal eventualities and establish hearsay evidence as needed, and not necessarily to indict CAIR. Both Bush and Obama administrations reviewed CAIR and decided it would not be appropriate to prosecute.

    The group has hundreds of leaders and conducts a wide range of activities aimed at defense of civil liberties and ending anti-Muslim bigotry. It is certainly unfortunate that a few bad apples were involved, but I tend to think they used CAIR as legitimate cover to conceal their true intentions, rather than finding ideological sympathy or support for terror at CAIR.

    If there was something nefarious about the organization itself I highly doubt it would have escaped scrutiny after so much prosecutorial attention.

  • aadila

    “Even in America, and this mostly due to the honor killing of females, most Muslims who are killed died at the hands of other Muslims.”

    Sauder,

    In 2009 there were 16,799 homicides in the United States, according to officials statistics from the CDC. That puts the homicide rate in America at 5.5 deaths per 100,000 people.

    This puts the United States near the top of the list for homicides. Far beyond, as you can see, most countries with predominately Muslim populations:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news.....unodc#data

    So you see, arguments like yours look very bad for Americans. I wish you would not say that, because not everyone in this country is so ignorant, and unfortunately your expressions of ignorance make us all look bad.

    With even the most minimal of research anyone can see when you try to besmirch Muslims for honor killings, it is clear you are just a bigot.

  • Reynardine

    Foton, I don’t know if you speak French, but you are perilously close to being appropriately named also, even if no one is about to take you up on it.

    I have lived and worked among Muslims, was married to two, never converted, and the closest they came to killing me was feeding me Snot Nose Chutney in the dust storm season, to prevent me from getting dust pneumonia.

  • Foton

    F. Abraham-
    In the Muslim book “Koran” sora 29, it call Muslims to kill who does not believe in islam- this maen that if non Muslim do not convert and became muslim, they will be killed and Bin Ladin/Al Qaida are calling to wipe all the Christians and the West. However Jesus wants us to love every body even our enemies.

  • Reynardine

    Well, Sauder, most people who are murdered, are murdered by people from their own ethnic group, and most women who are murdered, are murdered by husbands, lovers, or jilted suitors. And if you think child-killing is peculiar to any given religion, check out the writings of Charles Appropriately-Named Fuqua, who advocates that the truly Christian thing to do with one’s disobedient children is to stone them to death.

  • Kiwiwriter

    “@Karen
    “We do not judge a human being by his race , religion or gender!!”

    let’s be honest here, shall we? It’s always open season on Christians down at the old SPLC. 90% of the articles here openly proclaim a necessity to hate Christians. It’s pretty obvious with the amount of negative articles about Christians, the SPLC has a major hard on for anything remotely associated with being a Christian.”

    Well, NWOSlave, are you going to list those articles? They’re all on this web page, so it doesn’t take much work to copy and paste the links into an e-mail.

    Then we can trash your silly and paranoid arguments, one-by-one.

    By the way, “Anti-Christian” covers a lot of ground, considering how many versions of Christianity there are. Are they anti-Catholic, anti-Lutheran, anti-Baptist, anti-Unitarian, anti-Mormon, anti-Coptic, anti-Russian Orthodox, anti-Eastern Orthodox, anti-Jehovah’s Witness, anti-Quaker, anti-Methodist, anti-Presbyterian, or anti-Episcopalian? Pick one.

  • Ishmael Royer

    Reynardine,

    Why do you attack. I have no contact with Aunt Pamela unless you know something I don’t.

    Why do you not do a critical analysis of the main points in my post, prove me wrong, and take your shot then.

    I welcome your observations based on fact but your emotional attacks without substance I am sure is beneath your intellect.

    Thank you

  • Sauder

    Nazism and Islam have many things in common. The obsession with purity as well as numerous suprmeacist sentiments among them.

    “Islamophobia” is a silly neologism invented by Muslim Brotherhood front groups like CAIR to stoke a sense of victimisation that is largely without any basis.

    Even in America, and this mostly due to the honor killing of females, most Muslims who are killed died at the hands of other Muslims.

  • SAS

    I am shocked by this incident as I myself have been to the mosque in question. But I am confident the Muslim community of Toledo will come out from this incident stronger than before !

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Evidence, NWOSlave.

  • Reynardine

    Mr. Royer, don’t overexcite yourself. Run along to your Aunt Pamela and have a cup of tea.

  • supersonic250

    NWOSlave said: 90% of the articles here openly proclaim a necessity to hate Christians.

    …………..Yes, because when the SPLC talks about how the Ku Klux Klan is planning a rally somewhere, or that sovereign citizens are shooting cops, or that radical extremists are a problem for all people of all nations… what they REALLY mean is: A JIHAD ON ALL OF CHRISTENDOM!!!

    …Name ONE article that claims to hate Christians. Please. I BEG you, go through the entire archive and point out ONE SINGLE article. And when you can’t, please, go find a psychologist and get some help.

  • aadila

    Peter, as an athiest, I really must agree.

  • Peter Hockley

    I’m just surprised that Birwell didn’t include atheists. I’m most hurt!

  • NWOslave

    @Karen
    “We do not judge a human being by his race , religion or gender!!”

    let’s be honest here, shall we? It’s always open season on Christians down at the old SPLC. 90% of the articles here openly proclaim a necessity to hate Christians. It’s pretty obvious with the amount of negative articles about Christians, the SPLC has a major hard on for anything remotely associated with being a Christian.

  • aadila

    If you do decide to leave, Birdwell, you might look up Deep Ecology…

    Last we heard he was sipping schnapps and practicing the althorn, jolly as could be there in the Fatherland away from all the other races.

    Perhaps he would take you in as long as you pledged not to increase per capita energy consumption and shared his love of true Kultur.

  • Karen

    Birwell;
    You are one of the very reasons that tht United States has become so divided by hateful, racist, bogoted rhetoric.
    I think you and all people like you should be rounded up and shipped out.
    We do not judge a human being by hid race , religion or gender!!
    You are a perfect example that there is pure evil in EVERY race and religion, keep in mind( oh yeah you don’ t have one !)
    That we all are human beings and we all have the choice to love all our fellow man or be eaten up with ugliness and hatred.
    You don’ t have the right to say who belongs in this country and who doesn’t and if that is such an apalling thought to you, then by all means….LEAVE!!!!!

  • Ishmael Royer

    I also hope whoever started this fire is caught and severely punished.

    It just seems odd the fire was set in the middle of Masjid right after prayers when the Mosque is most active – and there were no witnesses. I want to know what the Police Detective has to say not a third party like CAIR.

    Now the source of the story is CAIR – which is an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist funding trial in U.S. history. CAIR has tried twice to get their name removed from the list and failed to make their case each time. What does it take to have CAIR just maybe not be considered a reliable source for information – I’m just mentioning the Obvious here.

    Why did the SPLC NOT include this important fact about CAIR’s current background in the story above? Is the SPLC aligned with CAIR? It would be interesting to know but not relevant to the story.

    Did the SPLC report on this story?

    Man accused of driving at Christian protesters accepts plea, gets probation.http://www.sourcenewspapers.co.....459645.txt

    I’m not trying to make a moral equivalence type argument here – I’m just askin a question.

    Peace and Blessing to you all

  • Canadian

    “Robert Birdwell” Just proved that he is 100% stupid with no common sense…

  • Reynardine

    Ruslan, no sane person doubts you’re a stone cold badass, but to achieve the standing of ignorant coward, Mr. Birdbrain would have to be an actual person. My sister told me that, although she has been waiting, People’s Gas never showed up. I believe it has been writing comments to this column.

  • Reynardine

    Ruslan, go pick up that Iron Anvil I left for you. Someone of your heroic stature should have no problem doing so.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Islam has declared war on all non-Muslims;”

    Really? They must be really lazy then because I would think that 1.5 billion(the correct number) Muslims being at war with the rest of us would be a bit more noticeable, especially if it has been going on for so long.

    ” 1.2 billion Muslims adore and worship a mass murderer, serial rapist, misogynist, sodomite, racist, liar, thief and plunderer of nations, Muhammad, and his psychopathic alter ego, Allah.”

    You might as well throw in Nazi and Communist in there as long as your pulling terms out of your ass. Just for fun though, tell me what mass murder Mohammed was guilty of. I’ve never heard that nonsense before. Also, what nations did he plunder?

    “Islam is not a religion at all. It is a fascist, collectivist, political ideology that requires absolute surrender and obedience to the most brutal dogma ever conceived by psychopaths.”

    Uh nope, it’s a religion. It fits the English definition of religion.

    “Evil people would like us to believe that Islam is on par with Presbyterians or Buddhists. It is not.”

    Well the details are different but yeah, it is a religion so, it is on par with other religions.

    “Islam requires its slaves to conquer, enslave and murder all people who refuse to surrender to the insanity of Islam.”

    Wow, I can’t believe I missed this having been to so many Muslim countries over the years. Either I’m a stone cold badass or you’re an ignorant coward.

    “I demand that all Muslims, Communists, Nazis and their supporters be rounded up and deported to that moral, ethical, and intellectual cesspool, Saudi Arabia, no matter their country of origin.”

    I demand that you stop making an ass of yourself.

  • Sam Molloy

    I looked it up, and learned something. A Dhimmi is someone of a non Muslim but legally protected religion living in a Muslim country under Sharia law. All of the religions of the countries taken over by Muslims were given this protection. They had it much better than a non Christian living in a Christian country until quite recently. Thank you.

  • Gregory

    “Robert Birdwell”, you are one crazy person. Really. Not only are your claims demonstrably false but you are conflating a number of political ideas that are, mildly put, mutually exclusive. It would all be amusing if you were not a representative sample of the GOP base.

    Take your meds. Your nurse is not trying to poison you, I promise.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Quoth Mr. Birdswell:

    “I demand that all Muslims, Communists, Nazis and their supporters be rounded up and deported to that moral, ethical, and intellectual cesspool, Saudi Arabia, no matter their country of origin.”

    This is fascinating…I did not know that Lenin and Hitler were Muslims, or that Communism and Nazism were born in Saudi Arabia.

    Have you got any credible evidence to share with us on this fascinating interpretation of history?

    Oh, and how do you propose to make that demand law? How are you going to decide who is a Nazi, who is a Muslim and who is a Communist?

  • supersonic250

    Robert Birdwell… You DO realize you just declared a jihad on Islam? By your own logic, you should be shot and thrown out in the street.

  • Reynardine

    Birdbrain, give up hypercaffeinated drinks. Besides being of Arabic origin, they’re making you hysterical. And I’d call you a perfect zero, but you don’t believe in Arabic numerals. Notwithstanding that fact, don’t ever submit such a comment here unless you can offer algebraic proof.

  • Reynardine

    And if I were to say that I know these people well and they are as fully human as all others, the Geller fellers would call me a dhimmi, the meaning of which they do not know.

  • Robert Birdwell

    What is there about Islam that is not worthy of abject hatred?

    Islam has declared war on all non-Muslims; 1.2 billion Muslims adore and worship a mass murderer, serial rapist, misogynist, sodomite, racist, liar, thief and plunderer of nations, Muhammad, and his psychopathic alter ego, Allah.

    Islam is not a religion at all. It is a fascist, collectivist, political ideology that requires absolute surrender and obedience to the most brutal dogma ever conceived by psychopaths.

    Evil people would like us to believe that Islam is on par with Presbyterians or Buddhists. It is not.

    Islam requires its slaves to conquer, enslave and murder all people who refuse to surrender to the insanity of Islam.

    I demand that all Muslims, Communists, Nazis and their supporters be rounded up and deported to that moral, ethical, and intellectual cesspool, Saudi Arabia, no matter their country of origin.

    Otherwise, all followers of creeds that declare jihad against us stating their intent to enslave and murder the people of the United States are fair game to be shot on sight as a matter of right in self-defense.

  • Sam Molloy

    This should be addressed by all people of all faiths. Freedom of, or from, if you so choose, all religion is a basic American principle. Also security cameras would help.

  • Kiwiwriter

    This is wrong.

    It is also the work of cowards. I suspect they would not be able to stand up in a fair fight.

    I hope they get caught and severely punished.

  • Aron

    I weep for this country and her people. Honest to goodness. I weep.