CAIR Web site defamed with hateful depictions

By Christine Won

The Council on American-Islamic Relations University chapter’s Web page was vandalized Saturday afternoon. The Web site was hacked into and the Danish cartoons and similar anti-Islamic images were posted.

One particular image showed a Muslim man who was nailed to a cross and bleeding. The cartoon of Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban, one of the 12 original printed in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper that caused uproar, was also included.

“The hacking and defacement of our Web site qualifies as a hate crime,” said Reem Rahman, director of the University’s Council on American-Islamic Relations and junior in LAS. “Every single one of these drawings is exactly that. Hatred. And it dehumanizes.”

The incident was filed with the University police who are aggressively investigating in conjunction with other University departments such as CITES, Assistant Chief of Police Jeff Christensen said.

“Hate-filled and inflammatory images only serve to encourage those who would turn bigoted views into violent or discriminatory actions against ordinary American Muslims,” said Rahman. “It presents a view of Muslims that is highly inaccurate, unbalanced and entirely self-defeating in attempting to ensure safety and justice within America.”

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University students have also reported receiving harassing phone calls, which the police are investigating, Christensen said.

“Students on campus are becoming a direct case study for how these images have served to cause discriminatory, malicious acts towards ordinary citizens,” Rahman said.

Assistant Dean of Students Kaamilyah Abdullah-Span said one University parent, afraid for her Muslim child’s safety, called the Office of Dean of Students after the Danish cartoons were printed in the Daily Illini.

Because of recent events, Abdullah-Span is sending a mass e-mail to religious student organizations on campus encouraging them to report any incidents of discrimination or harassment.

A student, who wished to remain anonymous for safety issues, said she walks around with her hand on speed dial for 911.

“We must all work together to educate and engage each other, and not allow malicious hate crimes to occur to any group, not just ours,” Rahman said.