UPDATE: See bottom for details of town hall tonight addressing hate crimes directed at local Muslims.
This is no way to start the new year fresh: local Muslims are dealing with two incidents of anti-Islam hate targeting their community.
A burned copy of the Quran was found during Friday prayers at the back entrance of the Islamic Educational Center of Orange County in Costa Mesa. A burned Quran had been left in the same spot a month previous, and the mosque has been vandalized within the last three weeks. As shown above, vandals also defaced the Muslim component of an interfaith holiday display in Mission Viejo. A piece of paper stuck to the display, shown below, stated, "No Islamic Lighthouses in the U.S.A."
Ironically, the Muslim portion of the display included a verse from the Quran encouraging unity of humankind:
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you.
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"Americans of all faiths, and leaders of all political persuasions, must repudiate those who would divide our nation along religious or racial lines," responded Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Anaheim-based Council on American-Islamic Relations Greater Los Angeles Area office (CAIR-LA).
Ayloush added that CAIR recently called on President Barack Obama to address an "alarming level of anti-Islam hate in our nation." Included were citations of a spate of vandalism cases at mosques nationwide.
The CAIR official is also urging American Muslim individuals and institutions to review advice on security procedures contained in its "Muslim Community Safety Kit."
UPDATE: CAIR, the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California and the Orange County Islamic Foundation in Mission Viejo hold a "Town Hall in Response to Anti-Muslim Hate Incidents" at 7:20 tonight at the foundation, 23581 Madero Drive, Suite 101, Mission Viejo.