MUSLIM EMPLOYEE ATTACKED IN WESTSHORE MALL - Mitch Perry04/08/04
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 DepartmentÃ¢â‚¬Â¦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, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll contact their office (roll tape#1 o.q.Ã¢â‚¬?the facts get outÃ¢â‚¬?)
CAIR says that this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attack in Tampa is part of rising anti-Muslim incidentsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.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.
CAIRÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.Ã¢â‚¬?figure that outÃ¢â‚¬?)
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.