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Gov. Quinn "Saddened" By Violence Directed Towards Muslims

By aaroncynic in News on Aug 15, 2012 2:00PM

On Monday Gov. Pat Quinn released a statement regarding two recent violent crimes against Muslims in the Chicago suburbs. On Sunday, a “MacGyver bomb” (a small explosive made from household cleaning chemicals) was thrown at an Islamic school in Lombard, just a few days after a Morton Grove man fired an air rifle at a Muslim Education Center during evening prayers. Quinn said he was saddened to learn of the crimes and that “there is no place in Illinois for hate crime and religious intolerance.” “No matter what faith you may practice,” he added, “attacks on places of worship are just plain wrong and do not reflect the values of the people of Illinois.”

The incidents come on the heels of comments made by Rep. Joe Walsh last week, where he stated that radical Muslims were “trying to kill Americans every week,” and could be found in many suburban areas. CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said in a statement on Monday that incidents such as these were “occurring in an atmosphere of hate resulting from inflammatory statements by elected officials nationwide.” The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, another advocacy group for Muslim Americans, called on local, state and federal authorities to make investigating these incidents a priority and asked for increased security for Muslim institutions during the last days of Ramadan.

CIOGC Associate Director Ahlam Jbara said that the violence directed towards the school in Lombard was “not an isolated incident,” and also called out Congressman Walsh for his recent inflammatory rhetoric towards Muslims. “It is election year and the fear mongering from elected officials such as Representative Joe Walsh creates hate in communities such as Lombard,” Jbara said.

A spokesperson for Walsh, Erin Rapp, told Chicagoist that the congressman “completely agrees with Gov. Quinn that there is no place in Illinois for hate crime and religious intolerance.” She went on to say:

Congressman Walsh has been very specific when he has said that there is a very small strain of radical Islam that exists here in America that poses a very serious threat to national security. The shooting in Morton Grove was committed by a lifelong Democrat who has had a long time property issue with the Mosque. Anyone who even implies that these attacks are a result of Congressman Walsh words are playing to people's fears and are trying to distract people from the issue at hand, which is that there is a very real threat from a radical strain of Islam right here in America.

Representatives from CAIR Chicago have not yet responded to a request for additional comment.