Tampa Police are now calling an incident in which a Muslim Woman was physically attacked at the Westshore Mall, a hate crime.

The incident occurred on Tuesday, when the 27 year old victim - a convert to Islam - was confronted by a couple apparently visiting from Spain , still angry about the terrorist attack that hit Madrid last month.

Joe Durkin a spokesman for the Tampa Police Department…He provides the details of the event (roll tape)

Ahmed Bedier is the Florida spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, of CAIR . He said as a civil rights group, CAIR is always performing outreach to ensure That if anything anything untoward happens to local Muslims, they’ll contact their office (roll tape#1 o.q.�the facts get out�)

CAIR says that this week’s attack in Tampa is part of rising anti-Muslim incidents….Yesterday in San Antonio, Texas, the CAIR office held a news conference Expressing concerns about arson attacks on 3 local Muslim businesses.

But Tampa Police says violence against Muslims in Tampa is rare.

A CAIR study shows 80 incidents of hate or discrimination against Muslims in Florida, the 2nd highest number in the nation.

CAIR’s Ahmed Bedier says that the recent escalation of violence in Iraq is also a growing concern for Muslims in America, and in the Tampa Bay Area (roll tape#2 o.q.�figure that out�)

Tampa Police say the adding of a hate crime to the original battery charge could lead the 3 accused people to more than a year in prison.

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