Monday, September 13, 2010

Of Coarse Some Bigots Burned Korans!

FBI probe is sought in burning of Quran in East Lansing,
Incident could be hate crime!

A national Islamic group has called for an FBI investigation after a burned Quran, its pages allegedly covered in feces, was found Saturday at an East Lansing mosque frequented by the Michigan State University community.

"To have the Quran burned at a mosque is equivalent to having a cross burned at a black church," said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, referring to an intimidation tactic frequently used during the civil rights movement.

He has asked the FBI to consider the burning a hate crime.

The incident at the Islamic Center of East Lansing is one of at least three reported around the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It also comes on the heels of a Florida pastor's plan, which he abandoned, to burn copies of the Quran.

FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said Sunday that the agency is in discussion with mosque leaders.

East Lansing police Lt. Kevin Daley said the incident happened between 11 p.m. Friday and 1:30 a.m. Saturday. They have no suspects or witnesses, he said, and are increasing security around the mosque on South Harrison Road.

Center spokesman Abdalmajid Katranji said mosque leaders waited to release the information until Sunday out of respect for 9/11.

"We felt (Saturday) had its own purpose, its own need for reflection, and so we wanted to make sure that the focus stayed on the issue of 9/11," Katranji said. "We did not want the messages to be mixed. We stand opposed to what happened on 9/11."

East Lansing Mayor Victor Loomis said he has met with mosque officials.

"It's a very deplorable act and we condemn the actions of whoever did this," Loomis said. "I suspect, along with members of the Islamic Center, that it was someone from outside our community."

Globally, two protesters died and four were injured as Afghans protested for a third day Sunday against Jones' plan to burn copies of the Islamic holy book.

Mohammad Rahim Amin, chief of the Baraki Barak district in eastern Logar province, said the deaths and injuries occurred when Afghan soldiers opened fire on hundreds of protesters who were trying to storm the local government headquarters.

In the U.S. on Wednesday, three men allegedly sprayed graffiti on the walls of a mosque in Hudson, N.Y. They are being charged with vandalism and having committed a hate crime, according to the Associated Press. And in Phoenix on Saturday, the windows of a mosque under construction appeared to be shot out, and the walls carried anti-Muslim graffiti. The FBI is investigating the incident, according to the Arizona Republic.

Mussop Mohammad, 23, of Troy, president of the Islamic Medical Student Association at the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, said he was in disbelief.

On Friday night, he said he attended an interfaith reading of the Bible and the Quran at nearby University Lutheran Church. Mohammad said everything seemed at peace.

"This is the last thing I expected right now," Mohammad said. "Burning a book doesn't make any sense to me."

Contact MEGHA SATYANARAYANA: 586-826-7267 or Lansing State Journal reporter Melissa Domsic and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

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